Middelburg, Mpumalanga

Middelburg, Mpumalanga
Middelburg is located in Mpumalanga
Coordinates: 25°46′6.30″S 29°28′42″E / 25.768417°S 29.47833°E / -25.768417; 29.47833Coordinates: 25°46′6.30″S 29°28′42″E / 25.768417°S 29.47833°E / -25.768417; 29.47833
Country  South Africa
Province Mpumalanga
District Municipality Nkangala
Local Municipality Steve Tshwete
Elevation 1,490 m (4,888 ft)
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)

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

Middelburg was established as Nasareth, (root from dry land), in 1864 by the Voortrekkers on the banks of the Klein Olifants River. The name was changed in 1872 to Middelburg to mark its situation midway between the Transvaal capital Pretoria and the gold mining town of Lydenburg. A Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1890 and became a focal point in the area. The British built a large concentration camp in Middelburg during the Second Boer War. The Memorial Museum was built at the site next to the 1,381 graves of women and children died here.

Columbus Stainless, a large stainless steel plant, is 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.

Hundreds of expatriates and their families, mostly from the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, moved in to the town in the 1950s, 60's and 70's to avoid the slump of the post WWII (and later the Thatcherian) 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 pre-1994 apartheid segregation 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 historically oppressed 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 opportunity.

Crime has reportedly been on the increase in past years as a result of increasingly high levels of unemployment and poverty, especially in the previously disadvantaged African community. The town has one of the largest police forces in the region, a government (public) hospital and clinic, as well as a private hospital, and several public and private schools.

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 land marks 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 center. A well maintained country club provides facilities for tennis, bowls, a golf course and swimming pools, as well as a bar, hotel and dining room. Furthermore, you will find the Kees Taljaard Park Stadium, which is primarily a rugby stadium, but also has hockey fields. a Lot of the local festivals are hosted in this stadium as well. Within the town itself, several popular night spots, cinemas and family restaurants entertain the locals and visiting tourists.

Geographically the town consists of several distinct areas.

  • Aerorand - The newest suburb in Middelburg. Sited on the old aerodrome site hence Aerorand
  • CBD - Also the oldest part of town.
  • Groenkol - Also the older part of town. Upmarket renovated houses
  • Dennesig - So named after the conifer trees scattered through the suburb
  • Gholfsig - 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 to "Cannon Hill" referring to the days of the Anglo-Boer War, a site of the British Concentration Camp graveyard is present in the area. Today it's a leafy suburb
  • Mhluzi - The Black South African Community suburb
  • Minneralia - Suburb named after Mineral deposits, which abound around greater Middelburg
  • Nasareth - Coloured South African Community suburb on the eastern side of Middelburg
  • Eastdene - Indian South African Community suburb that has a great Indian shopping centre where bargains abound and spices are good

Middelburg has deep Christian origin, For the oldest Dutch Reformed Church is the one mentioned above which is better known as Die Witkerk. Some Churches in the town is:

  • The Dutch Reformed
  • AFM-AGS Apostolic Faith Mission (Corpus Christi, AGS Sentraal)
  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian
  • Catholic
  • Full Gospel Church
  • ZCC
  • Independent Churches

Various Bazaars and Markets held by the churches of the community in support of the community. Examples would be The Expo which is held annually in the spring by The Lighuis Gemeente. Corpus Christi also have a world class market which is widely known in the area as the Kers Mark. The Dutch reformed Churches holds Bazaars annually to support the community, so to the Catholic Church as well as all the others. The Church community is closely involved in community upliftment and development


External links

  • Botshabelo mission station [3]
  • Middelburg [4] on places.co.za
  • Mpumalanga tourism [5]

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