Pietermaritzburg - South AfricaPietermaritzburg (/ˌpiːtərˈmærɪtsbɜːrɡ/; Zulu: umGungundlovu) is the capital and second-largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was founded in 1838 and is currently governed by the Msunduzi Local Municipality. Its Zulu name umGungundlovu is the name used for the district municipality. Pietermaritzburg is popularly called Maritzburg in English and Zulu alike, and often informally abbreviated to PMB. It is a regionally important industrial hub, producing aluminium, timber and dairy products, as well as the main economic hub of Umgungundlovu District Municipality. The public sector is a major employer in the city due to the local, district and provincial governments being located here. It is home to many schools and tertiary education institutions, including a campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It had a population of 228,549 in 1991; the current population is estimated at over 600,000 residents (including neighbouring townships) and has one of the largest populations of Indian South Africans in South Africa.
On 7 June 1893, while Mahatma Gandhi was on his way to Pretoria, a white man objected to Gandhi's presence in a first-class carriage. Despite Gandhi having a first-class ticket, he was ordered by the conductor to move to the van compartment at the end of the train: he refused, and he was removed from the train at Pietermaritzburg.
Shivering through the winter night in the waiting room of the station, Gandhi made the momentous decision to stay on in South Africa and fight the racial discrimination against Indians there. Out of that struggle emerged his unique version of nonviolent resistance, Satyagraha. Today, a bronze statue of Gandhi stands in Church Street, in the city centre.
In 1910, when the Union of South Africa was formed, Natal became a province of the Union, and Pietermaritzburg remained the capital. During apartheid, the city was segregated into various sections. 90% of the Indian population was moved to the suburb of Northdale while most of its Zulu inhabitants were moved to the neighbouring township of Edendale.
Prior to 1994, Pietermaritzburg was the capital of Natal Province. Following the first post-apartheid elections in South Africa, as a result of which the Inkatha Freedom Party won a majority in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, Pietermaritzburg shared its status as capital of the (then newly created) province of KwaZulu-Natal with Ulundi. Pietermaritzburg became the legislative capital of the new province, while Ulundi became the administrative capital. The IFP, being strongly Zulu nationalist, desired that Ulundi, the capital of the Zulu Kingdom at the time of its fall to the British in the Anglo-Zulu War, be the post-apartheid capital of the province. Ulundi had also been the capital of the bantustan KwaZulu, which makes up a portion of modern KwaZulu-Natal. However, Ulundi severely lacked the infrastructure to be an effective seat of government, and the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Party, the two other strong political parties in the province, among others, called for Pietermaritzburg alone to be the capital. The debate came to an end when the ANC came to power in the province in 2004, and named Pietermaritzburg the sole capital of KwaZulu-Natal. This has resulted in the relocation of several government offices to Pietermaritzburg. This has generally been welcomed as a positive development for the region. Since 2004, progress such as the modernisation of several buildings in the city centre and a proliferation of retail and housing developments in the suburbs are results of recent investment in the city by both the public and private sectors.
Pietermaritzburg has two types of taxi services: metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike in many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city to solicit fares and instead must be called and ordered to a specific location. A number of companies service Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. These taxis can also be called upon for airport transfers, point to point pickups and shuttles.
Minibus taxis are the standard mode of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private vehicles.
Woodburn Stadium is currently used for most club rugby in Pietermaritzburg.
The Kershaw Park Tennis Complex is a tennis stadium.
The above facilities form the centre of the Pietermaritzburg sports precinct.
Between December 1953 and November 1981, Pietermaritzburg had an international standard motor racing circuit located on the outskirts of the city. The Roy Hesketh Circuit measured 2.902 kilometres (1.803 mi). The circuit was named after South African driver Roy Hesketh. During its period of operation it hosted rounds of the South African National Drivers Championship, the Springbok Series and national Formula Atlantic races. The circuit was also like a second home to Mike Hailwood. The track was famous for hosting the Easter races as well – a festival of racing over three days. The expansion of the town of Pietermaritzburg eventually led to the redevelopment of the site as a residential and business zone after racing ceased at the end of 1981. The section from Henry's Knee to the top of Beacon still exists, and is undergoing protection from further development as an important piece of Pietermaritzburg's history. From 1948 until 1953 races were held at the 5.5-kilometre (3.4 mi) Alexandra Park Street Circuit on streets within the town of Pietermaritzburg.
KwaZulu-Natal has a varied yet verdant climate thanks to diverse, complex topography. Generally, the coast is subtropical with inland regions becoming progressively colder. Durban on the south coast has an annual rainfall of 1009 mm, with daytime maxima peaking from January to March at 28 °C (82 °F) with a minimum of 21 °C (70 °F), dropping to daytime highs from June to August of 23 °C (73 °F) with a minimum of 11 °C (52 °F). Temperature drops towards the hinterland, with Pietermaritzburg being similar in the summer, but much cooler in the winter. Ladysmith in the Tugela River Valley reaches 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer, but may drop below freezing point on winter evenings. The Drakensberg can experience heavy winter snow, with light snow occasionally experienced on the highest peaks in summer. The Zululand north coast has the warmest climate and highest humidity, supporting many sugar cane farms around Pongola.
Beaches of world-class quality are to be found along virtually every part of South Africa's eastern seaboard, with some of the least-developed gems found in the far southern and far northern ends of the province. Marina Beach (and its adjoining resort San Lameer) was recognised in 2002 as a Blue Flag beach.
Some visitors come for the annual late autumn or early winter phenomenon on the KwaZulu-Natal coast of the "sardine run". Referred to as "the greatest shoal on earth", the sardine run occurs when millions of sardines migrate from their spawning grounds south of the southern tip of Africa northward along the Eastern Cape coastline toward KwaZulu-Natal. They follow a route close inshore, often resulting in many fish washing up on beaches. The huge shoal of tiny fish can stretch for many kilometres; it is preyed upon by thousands of predators, including game fish, sharks, dolphins and seabirds. Usually the shoals break up and the fish disappear into deeper water around Durban. Scientists have been unable to answer many questions surrounding this exceptional seasonal event.
Durban is a rapidly growing urban area and is by most measures the busiest port in Africa. A good railway network links the city to other areas of Southern Africa. Sugar refining is Durban's main industry. Sheep, cattle, dairy, citrus fruits, corn, sorghum, cotton, bananas, and pineapples are also raised. There is an embryonic KwaZulu-Natal wine industry. Other industries (located mainly in and around Durban) include textile, clothing, chemicals, rubber, fertiliser, paper, vehicle assembly and food-processing plants, tanneries, and oil refineries. There are large aluminium-smelting plants at Richards Bay, on the north coast.
To the north, Newcastle is the province's industrial powerhouse, with Mittal Steel South Africa (previously ISPAT/ISCOR) and the Karbochem synthetic rubber plant dominating the economy. In 2002, Newcastle became the largest producer of chrome chemicals in Africa with the completion of a chrome-chemical plant, a joint-venture project between Karbochem and German manufacturing giant Bayer. Other large operations include a diamond-cutting works, various heavy engineering concerns, the Natal Portland Cement (NPC) slagment cement factory, and the Newcastle Cogeneration Plant (old Ingagane Power Station). This was recommissioned as Africa's first gas-fired power station by Independent Power Southern Africa (IPSA), and it supplies the Karbochem Plant with electricity. The textile industry is a major employer in the Newcastle area, with over 100 factories belonging to ethnic Taiwanese and Chinese industrialists. Maize, livestock and dairy farmers operate on the outskirts of the city. Coal is also mined in the Newcastle area. The province as a whole produces considerable amounts of coal (especially coke) and timber.