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Mdantsane is located in Eastern Cape
Mdantsane is located in South Africa
Mdantsane is located in Africa
 Mdantsane shown within Eastern Cape
Coordinates: 32°57′S 27°44′E / 32.950°S 27.733°E / -32.950; 27.733Coordinates: 32°57′S 27°44′E / 32.950°S 27.733°E / -32.950; 27.733
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape
Municipality Buffalo City
 • Total 45.55 km2 (17.59 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 156,835
 • Density 3,400/km2 (8,900/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 99.5%
 • Coloured 0.2%
 • Indian/Asian 0.1%
 • White 0.1%
 • Other 0.2%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Xhosa 93.9%
 • English 3.0%
 • Other 3.1%
Postal code (street) 5219
PO box 5219
Area code 043

Mdantsane is a South African urban township situated 15km away from East London and 37 km away from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape province. The name Mdantsane was derived from a stream that ran from the Nahoon River down to the Buffalo River. Some believe the stream was called Dontsane. Soon after the stream was named, a “white farm” which was at the entrance of Mdantsane [now known as Zone 1] was also named after the stream Dontsane or Umdanzani.[2] The township is part of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape.


In the 1940s, living quarters for black East London workers were hard to find and in the early 1950s the City Engineer was requested to find space for expansion, on suitable land adjoining Duncan Village. In 1957, the East London municipality received an instruction from the apartheid South African government to submit an application for a new township for its African residents. On February 20, the Minister of the Department of Bantu Administration and Development announced that the entire African (black) population of East London was to be moved to a new site called Mdantsane. The first houses were built in late 1963 with removals planned for 1964. However, removals and resettlement began in 1963. Mdantsane was formally established in 1963 on a farm called “ Umdanzani” and the first 300 residents occupied the new houses. The original inhabitants were people who were forcibly removed from what was known as East Bank in East London. The East Bank was a multiracial residential area. Mdantsane was recognised as a homeland town in the South African apartheid government-created bantustan of Ciskei in 1966.[3]

Mdantsane Today[edit]

It is divided into eighteen zones which are still expanding, with the newest unit known as Unit P. The zones are named numerically in the chronological order of their establishment. The central market, in N.U.2 (Zone 2) district is called "The Hi-way". It is named after Qumza Highway, which is the main road that runs through Mdantsane(the near high school is Vulamazibuko high school )from East London city centre to an industrial area at the end, Fort Jackson. Here many informal traders sell their wares on the streets and it is also the location of the main taxi rank. There is also formal trading which is housed in the recently built shopping malls. A pulsating culture in music, arts and poetry continues to thrive in this close-knit township life. Many political stalwarts and veterans also hail from this township, including Thozamile Gqweta, Ntombazana Gertrude Botha, Mlamli Ondala and Bangumzi Sifingo.

There is a vibrant social life with youth establishing local street wear examples are Pat Hanise founder of Timeless Apparel that caters to the local Street wear community in Mdantsane. However, according to Statistics South Africa, the area still has a very high unemployment rate. It is host to some of the biggest events in the province of the Eastern Cape with most notably the Spring Affair and the Mdantsane Summer Reunion which takes place annually on the first Saturday of September at Man's Buy & Braai and the 27th of Dec at Winter Rose rugby stadium N.U.13 respectively. These two events were founded by a group of friends and entrepreneurs who go by the name Loudnoise Entertainment, these guys are also the people behind the famous Mdantsane Native clothing brand.

Mdantsane was the home of several figures from the anti-Apartheid struggle, including Monde Mkunqwana who was imprisoned in 1963 for a supposed attempted assassination against Transkei leader Kaiser Matanzima; the lawyer Louis Mtshizana; ANC activist Matta Don Molteno who was banned by the Apartheid government in 1976; and Mzimkulu "Dabana" Gwentshe of the National African Youth Organisation (NAYO) who was imprisoned on Robben Island in 1964.[4][5]

After a quarrel with his girlfriend, Bulelani Vukwana shot and killed 11 people and injured a further six in a spree killing on February 9, 2002. He later committed suicide.

Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is a 1,724-bed multidisciplinary hospital in Mdantsane. It was named after Cecilia Makiwane, the first black registered nurse in South Africa.[6] Along with Frere Hospital and the East London Mental Health Unit, it forms part of the East London Hospital Complex, which serves a population of almost three million people.[7]


The language spoken in Mdantsane is Xhosa, however English or Afrikaans is spoken as a second language by the inhabitants. The majority of Mdantsane's residents subsist below the living wage, according to the government's economic classifications. However, there is a growing middle class in Mdantsane. With the advent of the Mdantsane Urban Renewal initiative this category of residents is set to grow rapidly.


Mdantsane is home to the Sisa Dukashe Stadium, a multi-purpose soccer and rugby stadium. Opened in 1973, Sisa Dukashe Stadium has a capacity of 20 000. The stadium has hosted the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and is also an alternative home ground to the Port Elizabeth Premier Soccer League outfit Chippa United. The stadium hosts a number of boxing tournaments and local music events during the year.[8]

Mdantsane is regarded as the boxing mecca of South Africa having produced many boxers who have not only claimed South African but also international titles. Mdantsane was thrust into the boxing spotlight by Nkosana "Happyboy" Mgxaji when he defeated Durban fighter Moses Mthembu in a non-title fight at Sisa Dukashe Stadium, NU2, Mdantsane on 2 September 1972. Mgxaji went on to win the SA Junior Lightweight title in 1973.[9]

Since then Mdantsane has gone on to produce 50 national and 23 international boxing champions including the former IBF super bantamweight champion Vuyani "The Beast" Bungu, IBF world bantamweight Welcome Ncita, WBO light flyweight champion Masibulele “Hawk” Makepula, former IBF Champion Noni Tenge and Zolani Tete. Mdantsane has not only produced excellent boxers but also award-winning mentors like Balekile Sam and Mzimasi Mnguni. [10] [11]

Proffessor Njabulo Ndebele in his book 'Behind sweaty windows’ describes boxing as a core element in the township's culture. "Boxing is a street sport in Mdantsane..All the world champions started boxing from the streets, in the classrooms of Mdantsane’s school...For the young men boxing is “a field we ploughed with no skills and resources...It’s part of the community culture, and entertainment. It has also given the community of Mdantsane a sense of communal identity.” [10] In April 2016, South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe donated R1 million worth of gym equipment is to be distributed to 57 clubs in Mdantsane.[12]

External Links[edit]

Introduction: Mdantsane


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Mdantsane". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Charter, Luke. "Mdantsane a name without meaning". Daily Dispatch. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Introduction: Mdantsane". South African History Online. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Truth Commission - Special Report on TRC Victims
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Sisa Dukashe Stadium looking for love". Supersport. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Happy Mgxaji: Mdantsane's Knockout King". Sunday Times Heritage Project. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Njabulo Ndebele:Behind Sweaty Windows-reflections on the boxing mecca of South Africa". Stellenbosch University Institute of Advanced Study. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "From Mdantsane to the world: The Eastern Cape’s champion boxers". Brand South Africa. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Mdantsane boxing development receives cash injection". SABC News. Retrieved 25 July 2017.