KwaZulu-Natal (kwäzōō´lōō-nätäl´), province (2011 pop. 10,267,300), 36,433 sq mi (94,361 sq km), E South Africa, on the Indian Ocean. Formerly Natal province, in the post-apartheid constitution of 1994 it was renamed KwaZulu-Natal. The province is bounded on the north by Mpumalanga, Swaziland, and Mozambique, on the south by Eastern Cape, and on the west by Lesotho and Free State.
Land and People
The capital is Pietermaritzburg and the largest city is Durban. Betwen 1994 and 2004 Pietermaritzburg and Ulundi alternated as the capital. The province rises from a narrow (except in the north) coastal belt to an inland region fringed in the west by the Drakensberg Range, whose highest point in the province is c.11,200 ft (3,410 m). The Tugela River flows west to east across the center of the province.
Sugar-cane plantations along the Indian Ocean coastal belt are a mainstay of the economy. Citrus fruits, corn, sorghum, cotton, bananas, and pineapples are also grown, and sheep and cattle are 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 are large aluminum-smelting plants at Richards Bay, on the central coast. The province produces considerable coal, timber, and tea. It has a good rail network; Durban is one of South Africa's major ports. The main institution of higher education is the Univ. of KwaZulu-Natal (at Durban, Westville, Pinetown, and Pietermaritzburg). Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg Range includes falls (c.2,800 ft/850 m) of the Tugela River. The main languages are Zulu, English, and Afrikaans.
In the early 19th cent. the area was inhabited primarily by Bantu-speaking Zulu people (see Zululand). In the 1820s and 30s the British acquired much of Natal from the Zulu chiefs Shaka and Dingane. Afrikaner farmers (Boers) arrived (see Trek, Great) in 1837 and, after battles with the Zulu (notably the Boer victory over Dingane at Blood River in 1838), established (1838–39) a republic. In 1843, Britain annexed Natal to Cape Colony, and a Boer exodus followed. In 1856, Natal became a separate colony. Sugarcane cultivation began c.1860, and many Indians (mostly indentured laborers) came to work in the sugar industry. Many Indians remained in Natal after their indenture expired; by 1900 they outnumbered whites. In 1893, Natal was given internal self-government; in 1910 it became a founding province of the Union (now Republic) of South Africa.
In 1970 South Africa's apartheid government established a Zulu "homeland," or bantustan, from a number of isolated enclaves within Natal. It was initially known as Zululand but soon called KwaZulu, and was given nominal self-government in 1977; Ulundi was the capital from 1980. During apartheid, a large percentage of the province's black population was forced to live in KwaZulu, which had a subsistence economy based on cattle raising and corn growing. In the 1980s and 90s, the black townships of Natal were wracked by conflict between the African National Congress and the Zulu-nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, under the leadership of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, which dominated the KwaZulu government; fighting diminished in the late 1990s. Under the post-apartheid constitution, KwaZulu was joined with the rest of Natal to form KwaZulu-Natal.