|Area ||92,100 km▓ (7.5% of country's total) |
9,426,000 (21.6% of total)
|GDP ||xx% of the country's total |
|Languages ||isiZulu (80.59%), English (13.6%), isiXhosa (2.3%), Afrikaans (1.5%) |
|Capital ||Pietermaritzburg |
|Other main centres ||Durban, Empangeni, Kokstad, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Port Shepstone, Richards Bay, KwaDukuza, Tongaat, Vryheid |
KwaZulu-Natal (often referred to as "KZN") is a province of South Africa. It was previously known as Natal. South Africa's most populous province is called the garden province and is the home of the Zulu nation. It extends from the borders with Swaziland and Mozambique to the Eastern Cape in the south. Inland it is bound by the Kingdom of Lesotho, and the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces.
The province has three different geographic areas: the lowland region along the Indian Ocean coast, plains in the central section, and two mountainous areas, the Drakensberg Mountains in the west and the Lebombo Mountains in the north. The Tugela River flows west to east across the center of the province.
The coastline is dotted with small towns, many of which serve as seasonal recreational hubs. North of Durban is locally referred to as "The North Coast", while south is "The South Coast". The Kwazulu-Natal Tourist board (http://www.zulu.org.za/kzn) includes towns like Margate, Port Shepstone, Scottburgh and Port Edward in its definition of what constitutes the South Coast, while Ballito, Umhlanga and Salt Rock are quintessentially North Coast resort towns. Superb beaches of world-class quality are to be found along virtually every part of South Africa's eastern seaboard, with some of the least developed gems found in the far southern and far northern ends of the province's extents. The beach at Marina Beach (and its adjoining resort San Lameer) was recognized in 2002 as a Blue Flag Beach.
Average temperatures in the province range from 17░ to 28░ C from October to April and from 11░ to 25░ C in the colder months. Annual rainfall is about 690 mm, falling throughout the year.
See also: Parks of KwaZulu-Natal and List of cities and towns in KwaZulu-Natal
Vasco da Gama was the first European to see the coast of Natal on Christmas Day 1497. Christmas in Portuguese is Natal, which gave rise to the original name for the region.
When the Bantustan of KwaZulu, which means "Place of the Zulu" was re-incorporated into the Natal province after the end of Apartheid in 1994, the province was renamed KwaZulu-Natal. The province is home to the Zulu monarchy, and the majority population and language of the province is Zulu. It is also the only province in South Africa which includes the name of its dominant ethnic group in its name.
Law and government
The KwaZulu-Natal's provincial government sits in the legislative buildings in Pietermaritzburg. The site where the legislative buildings are situated was occupied by St Mary's Church, which was built in the 1860's. A new church was built at the corner of Burger Street and Commercial Road, and opened in 1884. The old building was demolished in 1887 to provide space for the legislative complex. The foundation stone of the new legislative building was laid on 21 June 1887, to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The building was completed two years later. On 25 April 1889, the Governor of Natal, Sir Arthur Havelock, opened the first Legislative Council session in the new building.
When governance was granted to Natal in 1893, the new Legislative Assembly took over the chamber that was used by the Legislative Council since 1889. Further extensions to the parliamentary building were made. The building was unoccupied until 1902 when it was used without being officially opened, due to the fact that the country was engulfed in the Anglo-Boer war. The war also affected the Legislative Assembly, which had to move the venue of its sittings when the chamber was used as a military hospital.
The Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council buildings, both national monuments, formed a colonial Parliament of two houses: a Council of 11 nominated members and an Assembly of 37 elected members. The Natal Parliament was disbanded in 1910 when the Union of South Africa was formed, and the Assembly became the meeting place of the Natal Provincial Council. The Council was disbanded in 1986.
The Provincial Government Legislature consists of 80 Members.
Current Composition of the Legislature
The African National Congress (ANC) hold power in the provincial legislature, although they won the province by a very small majority in South Africa's 2004 elections. Their chief opponents were the Inkatha Freedom Party, allied with the Democratic Alliance.
Breakup of the 80-seat legislature from the 2004 elections:
- African National Congress (ANC) - 38
- Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) - 30
- Democratic Alliance (DA) - 7
- African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) - 2
- Minority Front (MF) - 2
- United Democratic Movement (UDM) - 1
KwaZulu-Natal, as the name may suggest, is also the home to the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelethini kaBhekuzulu. Although not holding any direct political power, the Zulu king is provided a stipend by the government, and holds considerable sway over more traditionalist Zulu people in the province.
Durban is a rapidly growing urban area (second largest city in South Africa) and is the busiest port in Africa with a good rail network linking into Southern Africa. Sugar refining is the main industry. Sheep, cattle, diary, citrus fruits, corn, sorghum, cotton, bananas, and pineapples are also raised. Industries, located mainly in and around Durban, include (besides sugar refineries) textile, clothing, rubber, fertilizer, paper, and food-processing plants, tanneries, and oil refineries. There large aluminum-smelting plants at Richards Bay, on the central coast. The province produces considerable coal (especially coke) and timber. About 82% of the population is black. During apartheid, a large percentage were forced to live in Bantu homelands (Bantustans), which had a subsistence economy based on cattle raising and corn growing.
As of the 2001 Census 22.9% of the population in KwaZulu-Natal aged 20 years or more have received no education, while only 4.8% have higher education.
- University of KwaZulu-Natal merger of the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville
- Durban Institute of Technology merger of ML Sultan Technikon and Natal Technikon
- Mangosuthu Technikon
- KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government homepage (http://www.kwazulunatal.gov.za/)