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History of Umvoti

Umvoti Municipality is located along the eastern border of Umzinyathi District Municipality about 65 km from Dundee and approximately 70km from Pietermaritzburg. It is well served by provincial and regional roads given its location at the intersection of the roads to Pietermaritzburg, the coast, the Drakensberg and the battlefields route. Umvoti is about 2509 km2 in extent and comprises five traditional authority areas, all of which are located beyond a 40 km radius from Greytown, which is the main centre within the municipal area. The central part of the area is generally covered with high potential commercial farmland and is characterized by low population density.

Umvoti means “The one who flows quietly”

Umvoti village in Kwazulu Natal was established by the 1848 Land Commission. It was renamed Greytown in 1854, after Sir George Grey, the Governor of the Cape.

Enhlalakahle, now amalgamated with Greytown, started off as Ezitendeni. Mud huts were erected on the fringe of Greytown, and when these houses were replaced by brick in the 1950s, this area was renamed Georgeville (also after Sir George Grey).

Greytown was known by the Zulus as Umgungundlovana (the place of the little elephant).

In 1897 Greytown formed a Town Board. In 1915 Greytown became a borough with its first Town Clerk, Mr A C Arbous. Greytown was also the site of the Bhambatha Rebellion from January to August 1906. The rebellion cost Natal nearly £1 000 000, and numerous casualties. The total losses amongst the rebels are estimated at over 2 000.

Umvoti Municipality is located along the eastern border of Umzinyathi District Municipality about 65 km from Dundee and approximately 70km from Pietermaritzburg. It is well served by provincial and regional roads given its location at the intersection of the roads to Pietermaritzburg, the coast, the Drakensberg and the battlefields route. Umvoti is about 2509 km2 in extent and comprises five traditional authority areas, all of which are located beyond a 40 km radius from Greytown, which is the main centre within the municipal area. The central part of the area is generally covered with high potential commercial farmland and is characterized by low population density.

Economy

Greytown, a small but vibrant town, is the main provider of higher income jobs in senior management, professional, technical, clerks, service related and skilled, providing 26.8% of all jobs in the Umvoti area. The manufacturing sector makes the second largest contribution to the local economy. There is limited economic activity taking place within the traditional authority areas.

Agriculture

Agriculture, particularly, forestry is the dominant economic activity. Commercial farms provide for 86% of the skilled jobs and these are primarily provided in the processing plants. The agricultural potential within the area can be summarised as follows:

Good agricultural potential is found in the Greytown area and along Umvoti River arising from a combination of high rainfalls, moderate temperatures, good soils and moderate slopes.

Moderate agricultural potential is concentrated in the area between Greytown and Kranskop, but large patches are scattered throughout the area, where productivity is adversely affected by difficult topography, acidic soils, high hail tendencies and population pressure. The carrying capacity of the veld is high in summer, but poor during the winter months. Soil erosion is a recurring problem where there are steep slopes and poor land use practices.

Restricted agricultural potential exists along the Mooi River and north of Kranskop Town.

Tourism

There is good potential for the development of the tourism sector of the economy. Umvoti has an exceptional and distinctive opportunity to develop as a tourist area due to the easy access to the battlefields, Zulu Heritage and culture, and eco-tourism zones from the region.

The following can serve as the basis for the realization of this potential:

Itshe likaNtunjambili in Kranskop. Kwashushu Hot Springs. Lilani Hot Springs. Itshe likaBhambatha. Indigenous Arts and Craft. Ngome Game Reserve. Montello Game reserve The Kop Other Attractions

Louis Botha’s birthplace on the farm Honeyfontein; The 120 year old giant fig tree in Greytown Museum grounds; Bhambatha’s Rock; Remnants of Forts Cherry, Ahrens, Buckingham, Wolftrap, Mispah and Bengough, of which most were erected during the Zulu War of 1879 and reused during the Bhambatha Rebellion; Greytown Town Hall, opened in 1904; The Methodist Church built in 1877 is the oldest church in Greytown; The Dutch Reformed Church Bell from 1861; Scenic drives can be taken in the area; Lake Merthly is a popular attraction for visitors and tourists. Greytown Museum and Community Tourism Information Centre is situated in a historical monument (old magistrates residency and former home of General Louis Botha’s sister). It is crammed with memorabilia from Anglo Zulu and South African Wars, Bhambatha Rebellion, World War I, World War II and the Liberation struggle. Hermannsburg Museum An old mission house that reflects early missionary life and Zulu culture, as well as a blacksmith’s forge.

Vision

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