KwaZulu-Natal: The Birth of a People

KwaZulu-Natal is simply the third largest province in South Africa. Its population stands at about 3 million, which is subsequently the 3rd largest province in the country. The name KwaZulu comes from the Norse word ‘Kwestsmanship’ and generally refers to the region as a whole as opposed to specific individuals or settlements. Many of the locals speak Swahili. This is not surprising since the region was once colonised by the Dutch. However, there is also evidence to suggest that the area was originally inhabited by the Khoikhoi people of the San rock art and may have even earlier links to the Eskimo people.

Typically, nomadic hunter-gatherers, the KwaZulu-Natal people evolved in the Lakes region during the period 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. Around this time, Khoisan tribes from further north as well as experts in diving began to settle there. Around 1500 years ago, the polyonymous Himba-Lubawitok (or Siksika) Slavs’, also known as the KwaZulu-Natal People, settled down in the region. They were then affected, heavily, by the spread of anthropology and palaeoart.

In terms of occupation, the KwaZulu-Natal People settled everywhere, whether on the coast, inland, or in the bushveld – so there is plenty of opportunity for fossilization evidence. There is also evidence of people using the land for agriculture, even before the Stone Age, as long as there were viable soils and plant materials.

Human remains were uncovered in Gondar, atigho, and subscribe the area with remains of early man. In the mid-Cistericproof area, seven such sites have been discovered and they range in time from eight to fifteen thousand years old. Madjokes, a town on the site of one of the earliest known camps – points to a larger organised society and a more structured society with a bivouac as well as settlements.

The KwaZulu-Natal Region was first populated by Europeans at the end of the 19th century and quickly became a popular place for origin colonies to collect cotton. In fact, the region was so successful at this time that by the beginning of the 20th century, it was deemed as one of the richest areas in the world with an average of 200 wealthy families with their ranks growing with the new technologies of the era.

This success led to the emergence of a Skiesight city – although it was more likely to be associated with large manufacturing centres rather than agriculture – and the Migration Hill. The Hill housed vestiges of the world’s largest Coal Mines and the smaller mining towns scattered throughout the region all became part of the boom and bust economy in the area.

Mines cause significant issues in the area around with pollution and health effects due to the close proximity of the mines. As the Boers copied the practices of efficient management, this region became home to the largest variety of companies in the world with the compiling of the largest coal minery in the world. Diverse and numerous artisans also resulted from the region, due to the artistic traditions of the KwaZulu-Natal region, which were brought to the region by missionaries and returned home after converting to Catholicism.

Today, this boomtown – like other parts of the alternatively dubbed, ” mother England” – still boasts beautifully preserved buildings and a wide range of shopping and dining options. However, it is the Boer capital that deserves the utmost credit for keeping alive the traditions of the region, along with its lively social scene.