|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2007)|
Street in Empangeni
|• Total||154.47 km2 (59.64 sq mi)|
|• Density||710/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||91.3%|
|First languages (2011)|
|• S. Ndebele||1.3%|
|Postal code (street)||3880|
Empangeni is a town in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is approximately 160 kilometres northeast of Durban, situated in hilly countryside, overlooking a flat coastal plain and the major harbour town of Richards Bay only 15 kilometres away. The N2 freeway runs just east from Empangeni.
The climate is sub-tropical with an average temperature of 28.4°C in summer and 14.5°C in Winter.
It has four major High Schools, Empangeni High, St Catherines (a catholic convent), Old Mill secondary and Felixton College along with three major primary schools, Grantham Park, Heuwelland and Empangeni Prep.
Empangeni is the birthplace of star tennis player Ian Vermaak.
In 1851, the Norwegian Missionary Society established a mission station on the banks of the eMpangeni river. The river was named after the profusion of Mpange trees (Trema guineensis) growing along its banks. The mission was later moved to Eshowe, 61 kilometres north-west. In 1894 a magistracy was established. The Zululand Railway reached the town in January 1903 and linked the area to Durban and Eshowe. The government planted eucalyptus trees in 1905 as part of an experimental timber plantation. The plantation was a success and led to a large scale planting along the coastal belt. In 1906 Empangeni became a village. Rapid expansion began when a sugar mill was erected at Felixton. The establishment of the Empangeni Sugar Mill set the area on the road to rapid development. Empangeni was officially proclaimed as a township on 15 January 1931 and declared a borough on 13 October 1960.
For nearly a year in 1983 and 1984, the town was terrorized by 35-year-old Simon Mpungose, who was called the Hammer Man because he would break into homes in the dead of night and kill the occupants with a hammer before robbing them of their money and jewels.