NguMgungundlovu

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NguMgungundlovu (isiZulu: umGungundlovu; IsiNgesi & IsiBhulu: Pietermaritzburg, eyaziwa nangokuthi iMaritzburg; PMB) yinkunzi yePhondo yaKwaZulu-Natala, eMzantsi Afrika. Isixeko, esinamamitha angama-596 ngaphaya kwezinga elwandle entliziyweni yaseZululand, kwakungowokuqala kwinkunzi yokuqala yeRiphabliki yaseBoer yaseNatalia. Nangona kunjalo, isixeko namhlanje sinesimo esiqinileyo seNgesi. Ngenxa yokulondolozwa kwezakhiwo zayo zembali, iPietermaritzburg idlalwa ngokuba yinto yezona zixeko ezintle kakhulu zase-Victori eAfrika.

Imbali[tshintsha | edit source]

See also: Timeline of Pietermaritzburg

The city was founded by the Voortrekkers, following the defeat of Dingane at the Battle of Blood River, and was the capital of the short-lived Boer republic, Natalia. Britain took over Pietermaritzburg in 1843 and it became the seat of the Natal Colony's administration with the first lieutenant-governor, Martin West, making it his home. Fort Napier, named after the governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Thomas Napier, was built to house a garrison. In 1893, Natal received responsibility for their own government and an assembly building was built along with the city hall.

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.

Name[tshintsha | edit source]

There exist two interpretations about the origin of the city's name. One is that it was named after Piet Retief and Gert (Gerrit) Maritz, two Voortrekker leaders.[1] The other is that it was originally named after Piet Retief alone, since his full name was Pieter Maurits Retief. In this interpretation the original name was "Pieter Maurits Burg", later transliterated to the current name (Jenkins, 1971:11).

A view of Church Street in central Pietermaritzburg, c. 1900

Retief in fact never reached Pietermaritzburg and was killed by Dingane, successor to Shaka, king of the Zulus. Maritz died of illness on 23 September 1838 near the present-day town of Estcourt, some hundreds of kilometres northwest of Pietermaritzburg. This was after the battle with the Zulus at Bloukranz, and Maritz did not ever reach the Pietermaritzburg area. In 1938, however, the city announced officially that the second element Maritz should also honour Gert Maritz.

At the time of the rise of the Zulu Empire, the site that was to become Pietermaritzburg was called Umgungundlovu. This is popularly translated from the Zulu as "Place of the Elephant", although it could also be translated to mean "The elephant wins". Umgungundlovu is thus thought to be the site of some Zulu king's victory since "Elephant" (Indlovu) is a name traditionally taken by the Zulu monarch. Legend has it that Shaka had his warriors hunt elephant there to sell the ivory to English traders at Durban (then called Port Natal). Today, the town is still called by its Voortrekker name, although the municipality of which it is part bears the Zulu name.

University[tshintsha | edit source]

Clock tower of the university's Collin Webb Hall

The University of Natal was founded in 1910[2] as the Natal University College and extended to Durban in 1922. The two campuses were incorporated into the University of Natal in March 1949. It became a major voice in the struggle against apartheid and was one of the first universities in the country to provide education to black students. It became the University of KwaZulu-Natal on 1 January 2004.

Other historical events[tshintsha | edit source]

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  • The first newspaper in Natal, the Natal Witness (now known as The Witness), was published in 1846.
  • The 46 hectare Botanic Gardens were created in 1872 by the Botanic Society of Natal.
  • The city hall, which is the largest red-brick building in the Southern Hemisphere, was destroyed by fire in 1895, but was rebuilt in 1901. It houses the largest pipe organ built by the Sheffield organ building company, Brindley & Foster.
  • The British built a concentration camp here during the Second Boer War to house Boer women and children.
  • During the Second World War, Italian prisoners of war were housed in Pietermaritzburg. During their stay, they built a church, which remains standing as a heritage site today.
  • In 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested in the nearby town of Howick to the north of Pietermaritzburg. The arrest marked the beginning of Nelson Mandela's 27 years of imprisonment. A small monument has been erected at the location of his arrest. Immediately after his arrest Mandela was taken to the Old Prison in Pietermaritzburg.[3] After a night in the prison, he was taken to Magistrate J. Buys’s office in the old Magistrates Court Building in Commercial Road (now Chief Albert Luthuli Road), and was remanded for trial in Johannesburg.[4]

References[tshintsha | edit source]