A street in downtown Mbabane
|• Total||81.76 km2 (31.57 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,243 m (4,078 ft)|
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,000/sq mi)|
Mbabane (//; Swazi: ÉMbábáne) is the capital and largest city in Swaziland. With an estimated population of 94,874 (2010), it is located on the Mbabane River and its tributary the Polinjane River in the Mdzimba Mountains. It is located in the Hhohho Region, of which it is also the capital. The average elevation of the city is 1243 meters. It lies on the MR3 road.
The town grew after the nation's administrative centre moved from Bremersdorp (now called Manzini) in 1902. It derives its name from a Chief, Mbabane Kunene, who lived in the area when British settlers arrived.
Mbabane was founded in 1887 by Mickey Wells, on the spot where the Transvaal-to-Mozambique route crossed the Mbabane river. It was declared the capital of the new Protectorate of Swaziland in 1902. During this time, Mbabane consisted of a few shops, churches and schools founded by white settlers. Black Africans were not allowed to live in the town and had to reside in nearby rural districts. By the 1930s, Mbabane had electricity, running water, telephone connection and a hospital.
Prior to the Second World War, most Swazis lived in rural districts and worked outside Swaziland, which prevented the town from growing.
After the war, the creation of trade schools in the city, the arrival of the railway connecting Maputo to the mines in South Africa, and foreign investment resources within Swaziland (particularly sugar) all contributed to the city's growth. Mbabane became the central hub for development in the Hhohho district.
In the years following independence, governmental buildings such as the British Consulate were built in Mbabane. Further growth has been achieved through the growth of the tourism industry in Swaziland, of which Mbabane has become the centre. Mbabane today is home to many hotels and recreational sites such as clubs and golf courses tending to tourists.
Mbabane's closest border crossing to South Africa is Ngwenya-Oshoek, and though Swazi is the primary language, English is widespread. Mbabane, and Swaziland itself, depend on tourism and sugar exports. It is also a commercial hub for the surrounding region, while tin and iron were mined nearby. The city has two sites for light industries.
Education and culture
Mbabane is the home of the Waterford-Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, as well as one of the three campuses of the University of Swaziland. Limkokwing University of Creative Technology is a private international university that lies by the South African-Swaziland border with several university candidates from Swaziland. Indingilizi Gallery is an art gallery in Mbabane, established in 1982 and showcases a range of Swazi art, including sculptures, paintings, batiks, mohair, ethnic jewellery and pottery.
Geography and climate
Mbabane is located in the district of Hhohho, of which it is also the capital, and lies on the Mbabane River and its tributary the Polinjane River in the Mdimba Mountains. The average elevation of the city is 1243 metres. Neighbourhoods and suburbs include Mbangweni, Sidwashini, Kent Rock, Sandla, Westridge Park, Malunge, New Checkers, Msunduza and Vukutentele.
Due to its altitude, Mbabane features a moderate subtropical highland climate (Cwb). The city has a mild climate and snow is a rare event, which has occurred only three times since 1900. The city averages only four days of frost a year. The average temperature is 11 °C (52 °F) in July and 22 °C (72 °F) in January.
|Climate data for Mbabane|
|Average high °C (°F)||24.9
|Average low °C (°F)||14.9
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||253.2
|Average rainy days||16.9||14.3||13.8||9.8||5.1||2.8||3.1||6.5||9.2||14.9||17.0||16.5||129.9|
|Source: World Meteorological Organization|
Twin towns – Sister cities
Mbabane is twinned with:
- Fort Worth, Texas, USA
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Mersing, Malaysia
- Melilla, Spain
- Haifa, Israel
- Maputo, Mozambique
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- The Cambridge Factfinder; 4th ed.
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- "Taipei - International Sister Cities". Taipei City Council. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
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- Media related to Mbabane at Wikimedia Commons