Kwazulu Natal

Old Natal Province and the old homeland KwaZulu coats of arms

The homeland of KwaZulu (or place of the Zulu) was granted self-government under apartheid on 1 December 1977. According to the apartheid social planner’s ideal of 'separate development', it was intended to be the home of the Zulu people. Although it was relatively large, it was segmented and spread over a large area in what is now the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The capital of KwaZulu was Ulundi and its government was led by Chief Magosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), who established a good relationship with the ruling National Party. He also distanced himself from the African National Congress (ANC), with whom he had a close relationship.

The government offered Buthelezi and KwaZulu the status of fully 'independent homeland' several times during the 1980s. He continually refused, saying he wanted the approximately 4 million residents of the homeland to remain South African citizens. Nonetheless, Buthelezi claimed chief ministerial privileges and powers in the area. In 1994, KwaZulu became a part of South Africa when it merged with the former Natal to become KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the old province of Natal, and the old homeland of KwaZulu. It also has a Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, based in Ulundi. He has some representative power for the Zulu people, but only under the government of South Africa. Pietermaritzburg is now the capital city, and the main languages in KwaZulu Natal are Zulu, English and Afrikaans.

Frank Mdlalose of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was the first Premier of KwaZulu Natal in 1994, and his successor was Ben Ngubane of IFP in 1997. Lionel Mtshali of IFP took became the Premier in 1999, the last year of IFP’s governing of KwaZulu Natal province. In 2004, African National Congress (ANC) took over and S’bu Ndebele became the Premier, and his successor was Zweli Mkhize of ANC in 2009, followed by Senzo Mchunu of ANC in 2013. In 2014, Senzo Mchunu was given another term as the Premier of KwaZulu Natal.  

An example of San Rock Art in the Drakensberg. Source: www.ingrids-welt.de/reise/sa/drakensberg.htmAn example of San Rock Art in the Drakensberg.

The Drankesberg is situated in KwaZulu-Natal. The Zulu call the Drakensberg-range uKhahlamba, because it looks like a row of spears. There are many superstitious stories about spirits and monsters in the Berg (as it is called). In 1877, a newspaper in Bloemfontein wrote about a farmer and his son who said that they had seen a dragon fly over the mountains.

The Berg plays an important role in South Africa’s history and heritage. It was the home of the Zulu kingdom and the birthplace of many of its Kings. During the Great Trek many Afrikaners had to cross these mountains with their ox-wagons. Many battles were fought here, between Shaka’s Zulus and other groups, between the Zulu and the British in the Anglo-Zulu War, and between the British and the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War.

There are also many San rock paintings in the mountains, some of them are 8000 years old. Today, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage Site.

There are many battle sites in KwaZulu-Natal. These battle sites include the Battle of Blood River or (Ncome River), where a life-size model of the Voortrekker laager can be seen exactly where it stood over 100 years ago. There are also many battle sites from the Anglo-Zulu War and Anglo-Boer War with monuments or museums that tell the stories of the sites. The homeland of KwaZulu (or place of the Zulu) was granted self-government under apartheid on 1 December 1977. According to the apartheid social planner’s ideal of 'separate development', it was intended to be the home of the Zulu people. Although it was relatively large, it was segmented and spread over a large area in what is now the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The model of the Voortrekker laager at Blood River. The wagons formed a barrier against the spears of the impis, and the Voortrekkers shot at the impis from inside the laager.

The capital of KwaZulu was Ulundi and its government was led by Chief Magosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), who established a good relationship with the ruling National Party. He also distanced himself from the African National Congress (ANC), with whom he had a close relationship.

The government offered Buthelezi and KwaZulu the status of fully 'independent homeland' several times during the 1980s. He continually refused, saying he wanted the approximately 4 million residents of the homeland to remain South African citizens. Nonetheless, Buthelezi claimed chief ministerial privileges and powers in the area. In 1994, KwaZulu became a part of South Africa when it merged with the former Natal to become KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the old province of Natal, and the old homeland of KwaZulu. It also has a Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, based in Ulundi. He has some representative power for the Zulu people, but only under the government of South Africa. Pietermaritzburg is now the capital city, and the main languages in KwaZulu Natal are Zulu, English and Afrikaans.

Frank Mdlalose of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was the first Premier of KwaZulu Natal in 1994, and his successor was Ben Ngubane of IFP in 1997. Lionel Mtshali of IFP took became the Premier in 1999, the last year of IFP’s governing of KwaZulu Natal province. In 2004, African National Congress (ANC) took over and S’bu Ndebele became the Premier, and his successor was Zweli Mkhize of ANC in 2009, followed by Senzo Mchunu of ANC in 2013. In 2014, Senzo Mchunu was given another term as the Premier of KwaZulu Natal.  

The Drankesberg is situated in KwaZulu-Natal. The Zulu call the Drakensberg-range uKhahlamba, because it looks like a row of spears. There are many superstitious stories about spirits and monsters in the Berg (as it is called). In 1877, a newspaper in Bloemfontein wrote about a farmer and his son who said that they had seen a dragon fly over the mountains.

The Berg plays an important role in South Africa’s history and heritage. It was the home of the Zulu kingdom and the birthplace of many of its Kings. During the Great Trek many Afrikaners had to cross these mountains with their ox-wagons. Many battles were fought here, between Shaka’s Zulus and other groups, between the Zulu and the British in the Anglo-Zulu War, and between the British and the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War.

There are also many San rock paintings in the mountains, some of them are 8000 years old. Today, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage Site.

There are many battle sites in KwaZulu-Natal. These battle sites include the Battle of Blood River or (Ncome River), where a life-size model of the Voortrekker laager can be seen exactly where it stood over 100 years ago. There are also many battle sites from the Anglo-Zulu War and Anglo-Boer War with monuments or museums that tell the stories of the sites. 


References:
• Berry, B. (2013). Flags of the World: KwaZulu-Natal (South African Homelands). Available at: flagspot.net/flags/za-zu.html{accessed on 12 August 2014} 

Last updated : 26-Jan-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 31-Mar-2011