Middelburg, Mpumalanga

Middelburg is a large farming and industrial town in the South African province of Mpumalanga.

The Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church
Middelburg is located in Mpumalanga
Middelburg is located in South Africa
Middelburg is located in Africa
Coordinates: 25°46′05″S 29°27′17″E / 25.76806°S 29.45472°E / -25.76806; 29.45472
CountrySouth Africa
MunicipalitySteve Tshwete
 • Councillor(ANC)
 • Total117.40 km2 (45.33 sq mi)
1,490 m (4,890 ft)
 • Total87,348
 • Density740/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African41.6%
 • Coloured5.6%
 • Indian/Asian3.8%
 • White48.5%
 • Other0.5%
First languages (2011)
 • Afrikaans50.3%
 • Zulu12.4%
 • English11.1%
 • Northern Sotho7.6%
 • Other18.6%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box

History edit

It was initially established as a halfway station between Lydenburg and Pretoria by the Republic of Lydenburg in 1860.[2]: 30  That republic would merge with the South African Republic (ZAR) soon afterwards.[2]: 30  The proposed town was established on two farms, Klipfontein and Keerom but when the Dutch Reformed Church established a church next door on the farm Sterkfontein, the town would be moved there.[2]: 30  It was established as Nasareth, in 1864 by the Voortrekkers on the banks of the Klein Olifants River.[2]: 30  It was changed in 1872 to Middelburg to mark its location between the Transvaal capital Pretoria, and the gold mining town of Lydenburg.[3][2]: 30  The Dutch Reformed church was built in 1890.[2]: 30  The British built a large concentration camp in Middelburg during the Second Boer War.[2]: 30  The Memorial Museum was built at the site next to the 1,381 graves of women and children who died in the concentration camp.[2]: 30 

Geography edit

Communities edit

  • Aerorand - the newest[citation needed] suburb in Middelburg
  • CBD - the oldest part of town
  • Groenkol - upmarket renovated houses
  • Dennesig - named after the conifer trees scattered through the suburb
  • Golfsig - upmarket suburb with a view of the golf course
  • Clubville - leafy suburb with a view of the golf course
  • Industrial Area - various industrial businesses
  • Kanonkop - translated as "Cannon Hill," referring to the days of the Anglo-Boer War, the site of the British concentration camp graveyard is to be found in the area
  • Mhluzi - Previously African suburb during the Apartheid era
  • Mineralia - suburb named after mineral deposits
  • Nasareth - Previously Coloured suburb on the eastern side of Middelburg
  • Eastdene - Previously Indian suburb
  • Rockdale -a residential area on the Remaining Extent of the farm Rockdale 442 JS
  • Hlalmnandi

Demographics edit

Hundreds of expatriates and their families, mostly from the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, moved into the town in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to avoid the slump of the post-World War II industrial and manufacturing sectors in those countries. These families were attracted by the need for industrial expertise in the plant, and were often rewarded with company-sponsored housing and discounted education.

The children of those immigrant families have either moved to the larger nearby cities of Witbank, Pretoria and Johannesburg, seeking employment, or have remained to form part of the growing alternative economic activities in the area.

Today, the town faces many issues typical to smaller towns in South Africa. These include challenges such as the incorporation, upliftment, and appropriate addressing of former inequalities of service provision and infrastructure in the large nearby townships and suburbs, that were created for the black and Indian populations, under apartheid laws. The cultural make up of the town is quite diverse, ranging from mainly Afrikaans-speaking families, expatriates from the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as the indigenous African populations. Another challenge is addressing the general trend of the hastening migration of residents away from small towns to larger cities in search of greater economic opportunities.

With a 2016 population of 278,000 and a growth rate of 4.9%, the municipal statistical department has estimated that the population will be 500,000 by 2030. The town has one of the largest police forces in the region, a government (public) hospital and clinic, as well as a private hospital, shopping mall and several public schools.

Religion edit

Middelburg has a deep Christian origin, for the oldest Dutch Reformed church is the one mentioned above which is better known as "Die Witkerk."

Churches in the town are:

  • The Dutch Reformed (NG Kerk)
  • Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (Nederduits Reformed Church of Africa) since 01.04.1864 - 2 parishes, Middelburg and Middelburg-Noord 28.08.1977
  • AFM-AGS Apostolic Faith Mission (Lighuis Gemeente, Corpus Christi, AGS Sentraal)
  • Pentecostal Protestant Church(Lofdal Gesinskerk, Woord-en-Kruis Gemeente.)
  • Baptist
  • New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist
  • Methodist
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church (Nazareth Chapel)
  • Catholic
  • Full Gospel Church (VEK Kruisgenerasie)
  • Zion Christian Church
  • Holy Trinity Anglican Church
  • Independent Churches
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Lutheran Bapedi Church
  • St Peter's Confessional Lutheran Church of South Africa
  • Presbyterian
  • ECF (Eastdene Christian Fellowship) 1988
  • Shalom Christian Church
  • Solid Ground Church

Various bazaars and markets are held by all churches in support of the community. Examples would be The Expo Art and craft market, which is held annually in the spring by Die Lighuis Gemeente. Corpus Christi also have a world class market which is widely known in the area as the Kersmark. The church community is closely involved in community upliftment and development.

Economy edit

Columbus Stainless, a large stainless steel plant, constructed in 1965, and Thos Begbie & Co, a company established in 1887 by Scotsman Thomas Begbie, are both situated here. For many years, the industrial activities of the steel plant and its peripheral activities, such as coal and transport, provided much of the employment and largely drove the economy of the town, although other sectors, such as agriculture, have gradually grown to be important.

Culture and contemporary life edit

Tourism edit

Middelburg railway station

The town is situated conveniently close to one of the main routes to the Kruger National Park, and has a small but growing tourism industry. Some landmarks and notable features in or around the town include the Middelburg Dam, site of the annual Middelburg Mile swimming event [1], the Botshabelo [2] mission station museum and associated Ndebele tourist village, several hiking trails, and the Dutch Reformed church in the town centre. Within the town itself, several popular night spots and family restaurants entertain the locals and visiting tourists. Middelburg Mall was recently built, just off the N4 on the Bethal-Middelburg road and has a wide range of shops and restaurants.

Sports edit

A well maintained country club provides facilities for tennis, bowls, a golf course, swimming pools, as well as a bar, hotel and dining and function rooms. Furthermore, you will find Kees Taljaard Park, which is primarily a rugby stadium, but also has hockey fields. A lot of the local festivals are hosted in this stadium as well.

Infrastructure edit

Passenger rail edit

This city has a railway station for the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo on the Pretoria–Maputo railway.[4][5]

Notable people edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Middelburg". Census 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Rousseau, Wilna (1974). "Middleburg in the Transvaal". South African Panorama. 19 (3). Information Service of South Africa – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Middleburg, Mpumalanga - South African History Online". www.sahistory.org.za. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  4. ^ Mozambique Logistics Infrastructure: Mozambique Railway Assessment. Atlassian Confluence. 10 de dezembro de 2018.
  5. ^ "The seven-year long construction of Delagoa Bay railway line starts". South African History Online. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2014.

External links edit