Piet Retief, Mpumalanga

Piet Retief
Piet Retief
Piet Retief
Piet Retief

 Piet Retief shown within Mpumalanga

Coordinates: 27°0′S 30°48′E / 27.000°S 30.800°E / -27.000; 30.800Coordinates: 27°0′S 30°48′E / 27.000°S 30.800°E / -27.000; 30.800
Country South Africa
Province Mpumalanga
District Gert Sibande
Municipality Mkhondo
Established 1882
  Total 66.00 km2 (25.48 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 57,428
  Density 870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
  Black African 88.2%
  Coloured 1.3%
  Indian/Asian 2.1%
  White 8.0%
  Other 0.4%
First languages (2011)[1]
  Zulu 82.8%
  Afrikaans 7.8%
  English 5.0%
  Other 4.4%
Postal code (street) 2380
PO box 2380
Area code 017
Typical colonial building in central Piet Retief

Piet Retief is a town situated in a timber growing region in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. It is the seat of the Mkhondo Local Municipality. It is located not far from the Swaziland border. The town was founded by the Voortrekkers in 1883 and named it after the Voortrekker leader, Piet Retief, who was killed by the Zulus under their King Dingane's orders after he tried to settle on their land.

In 1886, the inhabitants of the town declared the Klein Vrystaat (Little Free State), which contained a population of only 72. This republic existed until 1891, when it was incorporated into the South African Republic.

The town became a municipality in 1932. Its main tourist attraction is the Dutch Reformed Church that was designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk and built in 1921.

The area has an annual rainfall of 1000 mm. Its main economic activities are timber, paper and wattle bark production as well as mica, kaolin and iron mining.

Name change

On 2 February 2010, South African Arts and Culture minister Lulu Xingwana approved a state decision for Piet Retief to be renamed to eMkhondo.[2] Like many other post-apartheid name changes in South Africa, the incident remains controversial. Most residents are uncertain what the new name means, and have argued that "Piet Retief" did not evoke widespread public offence, as did Verwoerdburg. Prominent Afrikaner groups, including the Freedom Front Plus, have promised to contest the change.



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