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Malamulele is located in Limpopo
Malamulele is located in South Africa
Coordinates: 22°58′16″S 30°40′25″E / 22.97111°S 30.67361°E / -22.97111; 30.67361Coordinates: 22°58′16″S 30°40′25″E / 22.97111°S 30.67361°E / -22.97111; 30.67361
CountrySouth Africa
MunicipalityCollins Chabane
 • MayorRejoice Bila [1] (ANC)
 • Total9.57 km2 (3.69 sq mi)
167.9 m (550.9 ft)
 • Total13,070
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African99.3%
 • Coloured0.2%
 • Indian/Asian0.1%
 • White0.2%
 • Other0.2%
First languages (2011)
 • Tsonga93.7%
 • Venda1.7%
 • English1.2%
 • Other3.5%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Area code015

Malamulele can refer to the town of Malamulele or the area of Malamulele.[2] Both the town (approximately in the center of the area) and area are in the Limpopo province of South Africa and predominantly occupied by Tsonga people. Malamulele town has one provincial road and one regional road; the R81 to Giyani and the R524 to Thohoyandou (and Punda Maria Gate) respectively. Malamulele is flanked by two rivers, Levubu River (Rivhubye) to the west and Letaba River to the east, meanwhile the Shingwedzi River runs from Malamulele West to Malamulele East, joining the Limpopo River in Mozambique on its way to the Indian Ocean. Malamulele is the seat of the Collins Chabane Local Municipality.

There are between 100 and 120 villages in the Malamulele area, with an approximate population of half a million.[3][4] According to official Stats SA census 2011 results, some 82 Malamulele villages (excluding the township), were home to 206,646 people.[5] In 2001, Thulamela calculated the population according to some 16 main areas (again, excluding the township), supposedly representing the number of independent chiefs, which add up to 199,807 inhabitants.[6]

The Malamulele Area is situated between Giyani on the east, starting at Letaba river, and Thohoyandou on the north-west, starting at Rivhubye river. To the west of Malamulele Area is Waterval, famous for the Elim Hospital. The Cahora Bassa HVDC power transmission line passes through Malamulele from Tete Province to Johannesburg. The Malamulele Area obtained its own municipality in August 2016, called Collins Chabane, separated from Thulamela but still under the Vhembe District Municipality.[7][8]

Town Measurements[edit]

To the north-east of Malamulele Town is the Kruger National Park, where it is located 63 km away from the Punda Maria[9] gate, 72 km from the Punda Maria Rest Camp,[10] 99 km from the Shingwedzi Rest Camp,[11][12] 108 km from the Pafuri Rest Camp[13][14] and 135 km from the Mopani Rest Camp.[15]

Malamulele Town is 243 km away from Polokwane (the capital of Limpopo Province), 453 km away from Pretoria and 508 km from Johannesburg.

The shortest straight-line distance from Malamulele Town to the Zimbabwe border is about 60 km, 60 km to the Mozambique border and almost 300 km to the Swaziland border. Its proximity to Zimbabwe and Mozambique makes Malamulele one of the northern-most towns in South Africa.


The name Malamulele comes from the word "lamulela", which itself comes from lamula. To lamula means to stop a fight or to save. "Lamulela" then means to save someone or help someone. Malamulele is the noun for the person who saves or helps, a saviour. Sometimes Malamulele is written as "Malamulela", but this is an unpopular form of the name which does not follow Xitsonga grammatical rules.

Nationally it is common to refer to Malamulele as eka Malamulele or ka Malamulele. These references both mean to say in Malamulele or at Malamulele. It is wrong to say eMalamulele or e-Malamulele. In Afrikaans, Malamulele can be referred to as in Malamulele.


The rest of Malamulele speaks pretty much standard Xitsonga, except the Dzonga ndzi becomes ni.

Spelling have been standardised to reflect standard Tsonga, i.e. "sh" and "tsh" are "x", while "vh" and "v" have been corrected from the Tshivenda corruption introduced by Thulamela Municipality. "B" has also changed to "v" where appropriate. Examples: Mabiligwe would be Maviligwe, Mudabula would be Mudavula, Tshikundu would be Xikundu, Shikundu would be Xikundu, Shigamani would be Xigamani, Nyavhani would be Nyavani, Ka-Vhele would be Nkavele. All prefixes (ka-) have been removed because they are assumed. At times "e-" and "eka" were used as prefixes. These as well have been removed because they add no value to the article as it is not written in Xitsonga.


Malamulele was borne out of the homeland settlement system imposed by the Apartheid government. The people of Malamulele come from both sides of the Rivhubye and were resettled on the eastern side. Most of the people in Phaphazela village come from Malonga in what is now Vuwani. Phaphazela used to be called Malonga in remembrance of their former lands. Some people of the Makhuvele lineage were removed from parts of what is now Thohoyandou. Thus some of the people of Malamulele are the Magwamba, who used to form the Xipilongo (Spelonken) Empire. There has also been communities that were moved from what is now the Kruger National Park to settle in Malamulele. About 40,000 people were moved from west of Rivhubye and settled in Malamulele, whereas about 10,000[16][17] were moved from Malamulele and settled in what was to become Venda.

Malamulele was the first town to be built in the former Gazankulu homeland, prior to Giyani. It was named by Chief Risimati Chanyela Mulamula. It was one of the former 7 districts of Gazankulu, namely Nkowa-Nkowa,[18] N'wa-Mitwa,[18] Lulekani,[19] Mhala,[20] Hlanganani,[21] Giyani,[22] and of course, Malamulele.[23] At the end of apartheid, Malamulele was renamed to Levubu-Shingwedzi Transitional Local Municipality, after the two rivers. A amalgamation with Thohoyandou led to what is called the Thulamela Local Municipality, which then centralised all administration and services in Thohoyandou.

The years 2000 to 2015 saw consistent objections to the merger with Thohoyandou. In the last few years, the objections went from peaceful applications to the Municipal Demarcation Board to violent protests with property being damaged. The protests were mired with accusations of tribalism and denial, claiming all South African municipalities face service delivery protests. The issue was demonstrated to be imbalanced services between Thohoyandou areas and Malamulele areas. Even with poor service delivery, Thohoyandou areas still enjoyed better service in comparison to Malamulele areas. In July 2015, the Municipal Demarcation Board announced that a new municipality would be formed to serve Malamulele.[24] In August 2016 the new Collins Chabane Local Municipality started to operate in Malamulele, it also serves Vuwani and Bungeni which were under Makhado Local Municipality before.

Geography and climate[edit]

Malamulele is a low-lying area at risk of flooding. There are a lot of hills, but no known mountains. The soil structure is mainly sandy grey soil (ntlhava), that's why the area called Ntlhaveni. Malamulele is approximately 1551.93 km² in land area. It has a perimeter of 178.283 km².[25] The area is sparsely populated with a lot of bush between neighbouring settlements. The town has a very dry subtropical climate, specifically a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cwa), with long hot and rainy summers and short cool and dry winters.

Political atmosphere[edit]

Since 1994, the first time that the people of Malamulele and the rest of black South Africa were ever allowed to vote, the electorate has always voted for the ANC. A few voted for Ximoko xa Rixaka[26] (Whip of the Nation), which has now morphed into XPP (Ximoko Progressive Party).[27] Since then, the majority of Malamulele has voted the ANC by default, with around 80% of the votes going to the ANC, about 20% higher than the national average.


There are between 100 and 120 villages in the Malamulele area, with an approximate population of ± 500 000.[3][4] According to official Stats SA census 2011 results, some 82 Malamulele villages (excluding the township), were home to 206,646 people.[5] During the same period, Malamulele Town had a population of 13,070.[28] In 2001, or 10 years prior, Thulamela calculated the population according to some 16 main areas (again, excluding the township), supposedly representing the number of independent chiefs, which when summed up come to 199,807 people.[6][better source needed] During this same period, Malamulele Town had a population of 11,299.[29] These main areas are: Gijana (Magona), Madonsi, Makuleke, Mavambe, Mhinga, Mphambo, Mtititi, Mudavula, Mukhomi, Gumbani, Mulamula, Mulenzhe, Ntlhaveni (Bevhula), Tshikonelo, Xigalo, Xigamane, and Xikundu, thereby recognising 14 Tsonga and 2 Venda (Mulenzhe and Tshikonelo) chiefs. These places account for 1362.01 km²[6][better source needed] of Malamulele's 1551.93 km²[25] total land area.

For perspective, its north western neighbour, Thohoyandou, had a population of 69,453[30] in 2011, more than double its 2001 population of 32,730.[31] Its eastern neighbour, Giyani, rose from 22,725[32] to 25,954.[33]

Residential Areas[edit]

Malamulele Town has eight sections, which are; A, B1, B2, B2(New Look), B2-Extension, C, D and Mavandla. It is also surrounded by a number of areas belonging to tihosi (chiefs). Each chief has a number of villages under his ownership. Each of his matiko (villages), except for the one he resides at, has a ndhuna (headman). There may be disputes as to whether one is a chief or a headman, as well as whether a section is a new village or just a section of an existing village. As a result of population growth, almost all of these villages have expanded, creating what is called miganga (sections). These sections are so big, they may sometimes be referred to as villages. In addition to the villages, there are two informal settlements on the fringes of the town, called Rhulani and Xipurapureni.

In terms of chieftaincies and disputes therein, a headman usually only heads one village, but as villages grow bigger, this may not be a perfect metric. Where such disputes occur, the chief being disputed comes within braces next to the verified chief. These disputes are historical from Apartheid times, when the Gazankulu homeland was divided into districts. Some headmen tend to claim to be chiefs, while some chiefs have been robbed of their chieftaincies.

Malamulele CBD[edit]

When coming from Giyani via the R81 road, turn right by the Sasol garage then left by the robot to enter the Central business district, which is part of Malamulele Section A. It includes shopping centers, taxi rank, Malamulele Hospital, police station, Malamulele Stadium, municipal offices, Malamulele High School, City to City offices, etc.

Shopping Centers[edit]

  • Mangalani Complex
  • Masingita Complex
  • Hlekani Complex
  • Malamulele Crossing
  • Masingita Crossing
  • Quick Save

Filling Stations[edit]


Saselamani CBD[edit]

Saselamani or Salema is a village 27.3km away from Malamulele Town situated on northeast. It has a small CBD that serves Malamulele East (especially northeast villages). R524 road connects Saselamani and Thohoyandou, R81 road and R524 connect Saselamani and Malamulele. Saselamani has supermarkets, banks, hardwares, clinic and police station. This 'village-town' helps people who are situated far away from Malamulele town, such as Matiyani village which is 43.3km away from Malamulele CBD.


There used to be one tertiary institution, Shingwedzi College of Education, but it has since been dissolved by the ANC government. It is currently operating as Shingwedzi Campus of Vhembe TVET College. There are about 45 high schools in Malamulele Area, five are found in town; E.P.P. Mhinga Secondary School (Section C), Mahlahle Combined School (Section A), Malamulele High School (Section A), New Era College (Section A), Okani Commercial College (closed)). Mahlahle and New Era are private schools with primary levels, while the others are public or government schools. Xihlovo Primary School, Mavuyisi Primary School and Magangeni Primary School are the only three government primary schools found in Malamulele town. On average, there are two primary schools per high school, amounting to between 90 and 100 primary schools in the surrounding villages. There is on average two pre-schools at every village, in town there are more than ten.

Mala FM 101[edit]

Mala FM 101 (formerly Malamulele Community Radio) is a local radio station in Malamulele that started operating in 2015, the area of broadcasting was at Malamulele Old Age Home in section A, then it was moved to Malamulele Club House. It serves the villages of Malamulele and Giyani. Its frequency is 94.5MHz, it can reach as far as Maphalle in Greater Letaba Local Municipality which is 81km from Malamulele Town via the R81 route. Mala FM's competitors are MLFM (Munghana Lonene) and GCR (Giyani Community Radio).

Traditional Leadership[edit]


  • The clan name of the Bevhula ruling family is Mathye (Ndlovu). They affectionately known as Gatsheni.
  • These villages include Bevhula, Makahlule, Ntlhaveni-2 and Ntlhaveni-D. This is the Ntlhaveni area, named after the sandy grey soil (ntlhava).


  • The clan name of the Madonsi ruling family is Hlungwani. They are of the Zinjhiva/Sono lineage.
  • These villages include Boltman, Green Farm, Green Farm-A, Madonsi, Mapapila, Menele, Muchipisi, Muhunguti, Xibangwa, Matsakali, Gidja-Mhandeni, Mabayeni, Halahala, Xilovani, Jilongo, Hlayisi/Mbozi, Peninghotsa.
  • High schools in the Madonsi area include, Madonsi High School (Gidja-mhandeni), Mahutsi High School (Shitlhelani), Mbhanyele High School (Mapapila), Ntsako Secondary School (Matsakali), P.P. Hlungwani High school (Green Farm) and Shingwedzi High School (Madonsi Boltman B).


  • The clan name of the Magona ruling family is Nxumalo. They are of the Ndwandwe lineage.
  • The villages in the Magona area are Gijana and Magona, Mashobye and Nghomunghomu.
  • High schools in the Magona area include Gidjana High School (Magona).


Ka Mhinga. Vaka Mhinga ivanhu waka Maluleke, Vanwanati, Vadyi va Bhangu

The villages are Botsoleni, Joseph, Maphophe and Matiyani.


  • Mukhomi includes Mukhomi xikhulu, Gumbani and Phaphazela (formerly known as Malonga). Mukhomi xikhulu has the following sections: Vonani, Basani, etc. Gumbani village has the following sections: Tsavula-Nyama, Hlawulekani, Khatisa, Matlula-Patu (aka Salani), Gwere, Xifarafara, Xingwedzi. Phaphazela village has the following sections: Siya-Swikhovha, etc.
  • The headman at Gumbani is Gumbani (Nobela). The headman at Phaphazela is Mafokisi. The seating chief in all of Mukhomi is Xingangi (Shingange).
  • There are many primary schools and high schools in the area, as well as creches. Primary schools: Hlawulekani Primary School, Hasani Lawrence Primary School, Mukhomi Primary School, Guwela Primary School, Humula High School, Khatisa High School, Phaphazela Junior Primary School, Tovhowani Primary School and Nyeleti Creche.

Xikundu (Shikundu)[edit]

  • Xifaxani, Mahlohlwani, Magomani, Ximixoni, Gonani, Hlengani, Manghena, Phaweni, Nkovani, Nghezimani, Saselamani, Saselamani B, Xikundu Ville, Xifudi, Matshama hi nkanu, Hala Dibini, Xitlhelani and Maringa na le Xitasini.


  • The clan name of the Mulamula ruling family is Maluleke. They are of the Van'wanati lineage.
  • The villages in the Mulamula area are Muswane and Nhombelani (Maveke), Dumela (Bulwini) and Mulamula.
  • High schools in the Mulamula area include Photani High School (Mulamula), Jim Yingwani High School (Dumela), Fance Sombhani Secondary School (Muswane) and Rhabela Secondary School (Nhombelani).
  • Primary schools in the Mulamula area include Chanyela Primary School (Mulamula), Mahlepfunye Primary School (Mulamula), Mulamula Primary School (Dumela), Muswane Primary School (Muswane) and Nhombelani Primary School (Nhombelani) and Mzamani Thomas Primary School (Dumela)
  • Mulamula Satellite police station (Mulamula)

Xigamani is a name of a village under the chief Xigamami, Mhlengwe i Chauke xa humba. The name refers to a black and white bird called Gama; Xigamani means a son of Gama.



  • The clan name of the Mavambe ruling family is Manganyi. They are of the Magoda lineage.
  • The Sub-location include Xitlhelani, Jimmy Jones, Mahonisi, Gandlanani, Mafanele, Jerome (Jerome west & east), Makumeke, Rhulani (informal settlement) and Xipurapureni (informal settlement) Dinga
  • Primary and Secondary Schools Include Mavambe Primary School, George Hasani Primary School, Tiyiselani Primary School, Ripindzi Primary School, Magoda Primary School, Shirilele Secondary School, George Sonto Secondary School, Hlaluko Secondary School,Mahuntsi secondary School, Langutani primary School, etc.


  • The clan name of the xigalo ruling family is Maluleke. They are of Mhinga Maluleke lineage.
  • The sub-villages include Xigalo, Basani (Mphakati), Roadheis, Nyavani and Makhasa
  • Primary and secondary schools include Nkatini High and Thambisa High both at Shigalo Dlamani (Nyavani), Shigalo primary, Shimambani, Mphakati Primary School and Manavele Primary to name but a few. Two by Two is a local dancehall.


  • Makuleke people were forcibly removed from modern day northern Kruger National Park in 1969.
  • The clan name of the Makuleke ruling family is Mugakula (Maluleke).
  • The sub villages include Makuleke, Boxahuku and Makahlule.
  • Primary Schools and Secondary School include Makuleke Primary School, Joas Phahlela Primary School, Boxahuku Primary School, Makahlule Primary School and N'wanati High School.


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Malamulele". Census 2011.
  2. ^ Musa Baloyi (27 October 2013). "Malamulele Town" – via YouTube.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b "Census 2011 — Local Municipality "Thulamela"".
  6. ^ a b c Thulamela Local Municipality
  7. ^ "SABC News - Malamulele to become a municipality:Saturday 4 July 2015". 4 July 2015. Archived from the original on 2017-10-09. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, Reservations".
  10. ^ "South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, Reservations".
  11. ^
  12. ^ "South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, Reservations".
  13. ^ "South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, Reservations".
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  15. ^ "South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, Reservations".
  16. ^ "The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa".
  17. ^ "The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa".
  18. ^ a b Team, "Ritavi Region Map: Dan — Serolorolo - South Africa Google Satellite Maps".
  19. ^ Team, "Phalaborwa Region Map: Amanda — Welverdiend - South Africa Google Satellite Maps".
  20. ^ Team, "Mhala Region Map: Acornhoek — Xanthia - South Africa Google Satellite Maps".
  21. ^ Team, "Hlanganani (Gaz Region Map: Ha-Magoro — Shirley - South Africa Google Satellite Maps".
  22. ^ Team, "Giyani Region Map: Bend — Zakeni - South Africa Google Satellite Maps".
  23. ^ Team, "Malamulele Region Map: Gidjana — Xaswita - South Africa Google Satellite Maps".
  24. ^ "The troubles in Malamulele: An analysis - NEWS & ANALYSIS - Politicsweb".
  25. ^ a b "Google Maps Area Calculator Tool".
  26. ^ "Ximoko Party (XP)". People's Assembly.
  27. ^ "Why Ximoko Party severed all its ties with the ANC - Capricorn Voice". 15 April 2014.
  28. ^ "Census 2011 — Search Results — "malamulele"".
  29. ^ "Census 2001 — Search Results — "malamulele"".
  30. ^ "Census 2011 — Search Results — "thohoyandou"".
  31. ^ "Census 2001 — Search Results — "thohoyandou"".
  32. ^ "Census 2001 — Search Results — "giyani"".
  33. ^ "Census 2011 — Search Results — "giyani"".

External links[edit]

  • [2]- Thulamela Municipality
  • [3]— Gazankulu facts
  • [4] - South African Student Radio Network
  • [5] - Matimu News