Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal

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Dundee
Dundee is located in South Africa
Dundee
Dundee
 Dundee shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 28°10′21″S 30°13′53″E / 28.17250°S 30.23139°E / -28.17250; 30.23139Coordinates: 28°10′21″S 30°13′53″E / 28.17250°S 30.23139°E / -28.17250; 30.23139
Country South Africa
Province KwaZulu-Natal
District Umzinyathi
Municipality Endumeni
Established 1835[1]
Area[2]
 • Total 48.60 km2 (18.76 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 34,924
 • Density 720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 81.2%
 • Coloured 4.1%
 • Indian/Asian 7.0%
 • White 7.2%
 • Other 0.5%
First languages (2011)[2]
 • Zulu 76.3%
 • English 15.6%
 • Afrikaans 4.5%
 • Other 3.7%
Postal code (street) 3000
PO box 3000
Area code 034

The coal mining town of Dundee is situated in a valley of the Biggarsberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (28°10′S 30°14′E / 28.167°S 30.233°E / -28.167; 30.233). It is part of the Endumeni Municipality, Umzinyathi District. It is very rich in coal deposits. More populous than the town of Dundee itself is its adjacent township named Sibongile, orininally established by Peter Smith, with land contributed by his son in-law. This township is now being extended with many residing zones, e.g. Lindelani.

Dundee was established in 1882 after the discovery of coal close to the surface by the Boer farmers. It is named after the hometown of a pioneering Scottish settler, Peter Smith. At first, Dundee was a farm (Talana farm), the property of Peter Smith, which he had bought from a Voortrekker settler, Mr Dekker. Three other men are credited with the founding of Dundee; his son William Craighead Smith, son in-law Dugald McPhail, and close family friend Charles Wilson.

Geography[edit]

The town lies nestled in a valley of the picturesque Biggarsberg and is surrounded by historical remarkable mountains of “Indumeni” (where the thunder rolls), “Mpati” (The place of good waters), and “Talana” (The shelf where precious items are kept). Dundee has trails of the San people that lived here about 4 000 – 5 000 years ago. Evidence of this is to be found in lifestyle and rock paintings in several caves and shelters.

Climate[edit]

Dundee has a subtropical highland climate (Cwb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with pleasant summers and cool, dry winters. The average annual precipitation is 684 mm (27 in), with rainfall occurring mainly during summer.

Dundee
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
134
 
26
14
 
 
104
 
26
14
 
 
85
 
25
12
 
 
31
 
23
9
 
 
8
 
21
6
 
 
1
 
19
3
 
 
1
 
19
3
 
 
8
 
21
5
 
 
25
 
23
8
 
 
65
 
24
10
 
 
101
 
24
12
 
 
121
 
26
13
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: SA Explorer

History[edit]

  • The Boers reported surface coal here and named one of the streams Steenkoolspruit (Afrikaans for Coal Stream).
  • Peter Smith, a Scottish settler started sending wagonloads of coal, which was discovered close to the surface, to be sold in Pietermaritzburg. This started the coal mining industry in Natal.
  • The first geological survey of the Natal coalfields was made in 1880 and proved that there were workable coal deposits.
  • In 1882 a town was laid out and named after Smith’s Scottish hometown Dundee.
  • Smith, with partners Dougald McPhail and Charles Wilson, floated the Dundee Coal and Estate Company on the London Stock Exchange in 1899.
  • The British start massing troops at Dundee and was given an ultimatum by the Boers to retreat with the troops. On 20 October 1899, the first shots of the Second Boer War were fired. The news of this battle hit the headlines in Britain as the "Battle of Glencoe", which was corrected the following day to the "Battle of Dundee" and on the third day to the "Battle of Talana." It was on the slopes of Talana Hill that the British army troops wore khaki uniforms for the first time in battle; it is also notable as the first indisputable use of indirect fire in modern warfare, and the tactic as applied by Boer field artillery had a devastating effect. After the battle, the British troops retreated to Ladysmith and Boer forces occupied the town, renaming it Meyersdorp. This occupation lasted seven months. Dundee was relieved after the battle of Helpmekaar in May 1900.
Boers watch the fighting at Dundee in 1899
  • The town's folk who had left before or shortly after the battle returned and the town began to flourish again. Dundee soon emerged as a boomtown graced with stately homes and the first theatre north of Port Natal (Durban).
  • Pioneer traders from the Indian sub-continent settled here during the following decade, when Dundee became the meeting place of seven roads into the hinterland and coast of Africa.

Trivia[edit]

  • The battles of Isandlwana, Blood River and Rorke's Drift are near the town.
  • The site where the last heir to the Bonaparte dynasty died is also nearby.
  • The last pre-Boer War theatre extant in KwaZulu-Natal, the Boswells can be found here.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was tried in the Dundee courthouse for civil disobedience and imprisoned in the Dundee jail. [3]

Popular Culture[edit]

  • The poem "The Battle of Dundee" aka "How President Kruger's Irish Took in Her Majestys Hiberians"[1] by Rev I. Dempsey about the battle was widely circulated in print media of the time.

References[edit]