Mbombela (previously known as Nelspruit) is a city in northeastern South Africa. It is the capital of the Mpumalanga province. Located on the Crocodile River, Mbombela lies about 110 km (68 mi) by road west of the Mozambique border, 330 km (210 mi) east of Johannesburg and about 82 km (51 mi) north of the Eswatini border. Mbombela was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Mbombela
Nelspruit
A view of the CBD of Mbombela as seen from the Steiltes suburb
A view of the CBD of Mbombela as seen from the Steiltes suburb
Nickname(s): 
eNaspoti, Citrus City, Gateway to the Lowveld
Motto(s): 
City of Excellence
Mbombela is located in Mpumalanga
Mbombela
Mbombela
Mbombela is located in South Africa
Mbombela
Mbombela
Mbombela is located in Africa
Mbombela
Mbombela
Coordinates: 25°27′57″S 30°59′07″E / 25.46583°S 30.98528°E / -25.46583; 30.98528Coordinates: 25°27′57″S 30°59′07″E / 25.46583°S 30.98528°E / -25.46583; 30.98528
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceMpumalanga
DistrictEhlanzeni
MunicipalityMbombela
Established1905
Government
 • Executive MayorSibusiso Mathonsi[1]
Area
 • Total72.63 km2 (28.04 sq mi)
Population
 (2020)[2]
 • Total110,159
 • Density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African41.1%
 • Coloured4.1%
 • Indian/Asian4.9%
 • White49.3%
 • Other0.6%
First languages (2011)
 • Afrikaans40.7%
 • English22.4%
 • Swazi20.2%
 • Tsonga4.7%
 • Other12.1%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
1200
PO box
1200
Area code013

HistoryEdit

San rock art and Iron Age archaeological evidence indicate the Mbombela area has a long history of human habitation. Construction for the Mpumalanga legislature revealed farming settlements, storage pits, burial sites, and pottery ranging from the 6th to 17th century.[3] The presence of cattle bones at the Riverside site is thought to be evidence that early Nguni practices of labola originated in eastern South Africa.[4]

Mbombela was founded as Nelspruit in 1895 by three brothers of the Nel family who grazed their cattle around the site in the winter months. During the Boer War, Nelspruit served briefly as the seat of government for the South African Republic, an independent Boer republic (not to be confused with the Republic of South Africa).

The settlement was a key stopover for the Eastern Railway built by the Netherlands-South African Railway Company in the late 19th century which ran from the newly discovered Witwatersrand goldfields to Delagoa Bay in Portuguese East Africa (modern-day Maputo, Mozambique). The discovery of gold in Mpumalanga, such as at Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton, encouraged further development.

The history of what was then Nelspruit occurred along segregated lines. Under Apartheid’s policy of separate development, Black people were forcibly removed from the town to Lekazi, Kanyamazane, and other outlying areas as menial labour reserve.[5] In the early 1970s, Nelpark was formed as a Coloured district and Valencia as an Indian area in the town.[6] Youth centers, public amenities, and schools such as Nelspruit Laerskool were reserved for the town’s white population.[6]

Name changeEdit

In October 2009, the South African government renamed the city "Mbombela", the name of the local municipality.[7] The Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism subsequently approached the High Court of South Africa to challenge the decision, citing a lack of both consultation and city funds available to pay for road and website name changes.[8] Ultimately, the name change was upheld in May 2014 by the North Gauteng High Court.[9][10]

Education and research institutionsEdit

Mbombela has four major public high schools and a TVET college (Ehlanzeni); more schools across all age groups are being built in response to overcrowding.[11]

The city hosts the University of Mpumalanga (UMP). Established in 2014 with an intake of 140 students, it had over 4,300 students as of 2020.[12] The Tshwane University of Technology has a satellite campus in Mbombela with over 1,500 students, and UNISA has an office offering online courses.

Mbombela is home to the Agricultural Research Council's Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops and the Lowveld National Botanical Garden. Citrus Research International (CRI) has a major facility in the city. The Lowveld College of Agriculture, located near UMP, also conducts research in the field of botany.

TransportEdit

RoadEdit

 
The Main Road (Old N4) entering the City

Mbombela is on the Maputo Corridor, a major trade route linking Pretoria to Maputo in Mozambique which, with the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, forms a transport trunk that crosses the entire sub-continent from Walvis Bay in Namibia on the Atlantic Ocean to Maputo on the Indian Ocean. The N4 toll route is the main arterial route with a double lane highway all the way to Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The new Northern Bypass was built for the N4 toll route, so the old road through the city centre (Samora Machel Drive) is now designated as the R104 route. Other roads in the area include the R40 route (which connects to Barberton, a border with Eswatini in the south and with White River in the north) and the R37 route (which connects to Mashishing in the north-west).

RailEdit

Nelspruit railway station lies on the Pretoria–Maputo railway.

AirEdit

Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, located about 27 km (17 mi) north east of the city, began operations in October 2002.[13] Scheduled flights operate to locations within South Africa and abroad (to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique). The R360,000,000 complex has a 3.1 km (10,170.6 ft) runway which can accommodate aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747. The airport currently handles about 250,000 passengers per annum.

Nelspruit Airport, located about 9 km (6 mi) south west of the city, is the city's original airport owned and operated by the municipality. It primarily handles general aviation aircraft, and several aircraft maintenance, firefighting, charter and training companies are based at the airport.

Suburbs and TownshipsEdit

  • West Acres
  • Steiltes
  • Sonheuwel
  • Riverside
  • Alkmaar
  • Nelsville
  • Valencia Park
  • Nelindia
  • Stonehenge
  • Kamagugu
  • Vintonia
  • The Rest
  • Nelspruit Central (CBD)
  • Pumlanga
  • KaNyamazane
  • Pienaar
  • Schagen
  • KaBokweni
  • Matsulu
  • Masoyi
  • KaMsogwaba
  • Kanyamazane

TourismEdit

Mbombela is a major stopover point for tourists traveling to Kruger National Park and to Mozambique. Other tourism attractions nearby include Sudwala Caves, and God's Window in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, a lookout point which provides a panoramic view over the famous Drakensberg Escarpment.[14] Mbombela is the nearest major South African city to Mozambique's capital, Maputo, and as such Mbombela receives significant tourism from Mozambican locals. The city is also home to the National Botanical Gardens, set in 154 hectares of land along the eastern bank of the Crocodile River and containing around 500 species of plant species indigenous to the area.[15]

SportEdit

 
Mbombela Stadium

Alkmaar RacewayEdit

The Alkmaar Raceway is a motocross track. It hosted the 2008 FIM Motocross World Championship South African Motocross Grand Prix.[16]

Mbombela StadiumEdit

Mbombela Stadium was built as an association football and rugby union stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Finished in November 2009 and costing R1,200,000,000, it has a capacity of 43,500; and the construction process contained several controversies.[17] The stadium hosted four 2010 FIFA World Cup matches and is the current home of the Pumas rugby team.

In 2013 it hosted two rugby test matches between Italy and Samoa, followed by South Africa and Scotland. The Stadium hosts regular Premier Soccer League matches with Bidvest Wits, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mpumalanga Black Aces regularly playing host.

Mbombela Golf ClubEdit

Mbombela Golf Club was originally the Nelspruit Golf Club until 2017. Following an incident in which a black caddie was allegedly assaulted by four white golfers, the club's name was changed, alongside other commitments to increase the number of black staff and pay caddies a basic salary.[18]

MediaEdit

PrintEdit

Lowveld Media is a major printer and publisher of newsprint materials in the region. Major newspapers include the Lowvelder, Mpumalanga News and Nelspruit Post. African Eye News Service is an established news agency in Mbombela which writes articles for national newspapers and websites.[citation needed]

BroadcastingEdit

The SABC has a regional office in the city. Jacaranda FM operates a studio near the Emnotweni Casino.

Ligwalagwala FM is the largest SABC-owned radio station in the city and the Mpumalanga Province. It is a public broadcaster which primarily broadcasts in the Swazi language.

RISE FM (originally named MPowerFM before it was bought out by the Times Media Group) is an independent commercial radio station broadcasting in English from studios in Mbombela and eMalahleni to the province of Mpumalanga,[19] and the Afrikaans local community radio station Radio Laeveld 100.5fm broadcasts to the Lowveld area from Mbombela.[20]

CultureEdit

Mbombela contains several entertainment venues, the most prominent being the Emnotweni Casino complex. The city has a civic centre (built in 1994) with a large theatre, which can be hired by both amateurs and professionals, but recently the centre has fallen into disrepair.[21]

 
Lowveld National Botanical Garden

Mbombela has its own version of concert in the park with annual performances by musicians in the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens.

Several cultural and agricultural shows are hosted annually, including:

EconomyEdit

FinanceEdit

Mbombela is the financial and banking capital of Mpumalanga.

RetailEdit

The city has a strong consumer-based retail industry boosted significantly by neighbouring Mozambican and Swazi tourists. There are various major shopping centers, notably the Riverside and Ilanga malls. Recent developments include The Crossing Shopping Center and The City Center.

IndustryEdit

The city is home to the Manganese Metal Company (MMC) and Delta EMD, which together form one of the largest manganese processing facilities in the world. There are several medium industries which support the agriculture and forestry sectors. There is also a thriving construction industry which, despite the 2008 recession, has kept growing.[citation needed]

AgricultureEdit

Mbombela is a key agricultural processing hub for northeastern South Africa. The macadamia industry is centered within the city of Mbombela, with an annual production for the 2017/18 production year of 26,400 tons NIS (nut-in shell at 1.5% kernel moisture content). There are many citrus farms and the canning, juicing and extract of citrus fruit and other produce is a large business for the area. Fertile soils and the subtropical climate provide perfect conditions for the growing of citrus and tropical fruits, mainly mango, banana, avocado, papaya and macadamia nuts.

Sugar is also big business in the region. TSB, the producer of Selati sugar, is located a few kilometers east of the city. The low-lying areas in the region is dotted with sugarcane farms.[citation needed]

ForestryEdit

The economy is heavily reliant on the forestry sector. SAPPI has a paper mill west of the city which was recently upgraded to produce cellulose fibers for various applications. Mbombela is the global headquarters of KISHUGU which is the parent company of Working on Fire. KISHUGU is also a major player in the forestry sector. The region has several timber-related industries such as lumber and saw mills as well as furniture, crate and carton manufacturing businesses.[citation needed]

International relationsEdit

Mbombela is twinned with:[22]

Mozambique has a consulate in the city.[23]

ClimateEdit

Mbombela features a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa) with mild winters and hot summers. Summers are hot and somewhat humid complete with high precipitation. Winters in the city are dry, with relatively warm temperatures during the day and chilly temperatures at night.

Climate data for Mbombela
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40
(104)
39
(102)
38
(100)
36
(97)
35
(95)
32
(90)
32
(90)
35
(95)
38
(100)
40
(104)
38
(100)
38
(100)
40
(104)
Average high °C (°F) 29
(84)
29
(84)
28
(82)
27
(81)
25
(77)
23
(73)
23
(73)
25
(77)
27
(81)
27
(81)
27
(81)
28
(82)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) 19
(66)
19
(66)
18
(64)
14
(57)
10
(50)
6
(43)
6
(43)
9
(48)
12
(54)
14
(57)
17
(63)
18
(64)
13
(55)
Record low °C (°F) 11
(52)
11
(52)
10
(50)
5
(41)
2
(36)
−2
(28)
−1
(30)
−1
(30)
2
(36)
5
(41)
10
(50)
10
(50)
−2
(28)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 127
(5.0)
108
(4.3)
90
(3.5)
51
(2.0)
15
(0.6)
9
(0.4)
10
(0.4)
10
(0.4)
26
(1.0)
75
(3.0)
115
(4.5)
131
(5.2)
767
(30.2)
Average precipitation days 14 12 12 7 4 2 2 3 5 11 15 14 100
Source: South African Weather Service[24]

Notable peopleEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Welcome to the City of Mbombela". Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Main Place Mbombela". Census 2011.
  3. ^ "Prehistory of the Nelspruit area | South African History Online". www.sahistory.org.za. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  4. ^ Huffman, T. N. (1998). "Presidential Address: The Antiquity of Lobola" (PDF). The South African Archaeological Bulletin. 53 (168): 57–62. doi:10.2307/3889180. JSTOR 3889180. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 October 2021.
  5. ^ King, Brian H. (2007). "Developing KaNgwane: Geographies of Segregation and Integration in the New South Africa". The Geographical Journal. 173 (1): 13–25. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2007.00228.x. JSTOR 30113490.
  6. ^ a b "Nelspruit the Segregated city | South African History Online". www.sahistory.org.za. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  7. ^ Mogakane, Tshwarelo (19 October 2009). "Nelspruit to be officially renamed to Mbombela". South African Government News Agency. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Date set for Nelspruit name hearing". IOL (Independent Online). 2 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  9. ^ "High court rules in favour of Nelspruit name change". Mpumalanga News. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Nelspruit name dispute put to rest". News24. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  11. ^ Viljoen, Buks (8 August 2019). "Mpumalanga MEC announces R935m plan for new schools, classrooms". News24. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  12. ^ "UMP at a glance". University of Mpumalanga: UMP. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Our Airport". Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or KMI Airport. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  14. ^ Guardian Staff (4 December 2009). "Nelspruit: World Cup insider's guide". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Mbombela Profile". www.mbombela.gov.za. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  16. ^ "MX GP of South Africa Results". Vital MX. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  17. ^ Sama Yende, Sizwe (19 January 2018). "Mbombela Stadium fraud case to be dropped — NPA". News24. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  18. ^ Francis, Philippa (2 June 2017). "Drastic changes at Nelspruit Golf Club". Lowvelder. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  19. ^ "MPowerFM - Health News Discussions". www.mpowerfm.co.za. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Tuis". Radiolaeveld.co.za. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Questions remain about civic theatre". Lowvelder. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Protocolos". cm-maia.pt (in Portuguese). Maia. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  23. ^ Missões Consulares, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
  24. ^ "Climate data for Nelspruit (or Friedenheim rather)". South African Weather Service. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010.

External linksEdit