Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal

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For the British city, see Newcastle upon Tyne.
Newcastle is located in KwaZulu-Natal
 Newcastle shown within KwaZulu-Natal
Coordinates: 27°44′47″S 29°55′58″E / 27.74639°S 29.93278°E / -27.74639; 29.93278Coordinates: 27°44′47″S 29°55′58″E / 27.74639°S 29.93278°E / -27.74639; 29.93278
Country South Africa
Province KwaZulu-Natal
District Amajuba
Municipality Newcastle
Established 1864[1]
 • Mayor Afzul Rehman (African National Congress[2])
 • Total 75.79 km2 (29.26 sq mi)
Elevation 1,194 m (3,917 ft)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 56,144
 • Density 740/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[3]
 • Black African 51.9%
 • Coloured 3.8%
 • Indian/Asian 19.8%
 • White 23.6%
 • Other 0.9%
First languages (2011)[3]
 • Zulu 37.4%
 • English 35.4%
 • Afrikaans 20.7%
 • Sotho 1.0%
 • Other 5.5%
Postal code (street) 2940
PO box 2940
Area code 034

Newcastle is the third-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with a total population of 363,236 citizens as of the 2011 census. 56,144 of these citizens reside in Newcastle West, whilst the balance of the population reside in the townships of Madadeni and Osizweni, which form Newcastle East. Newcastle is located in the north west corner of the province along the Ncandu River and is one of the country's main industrial centers, encompassing four industrial zones. Newcastle covers an area of approximately 222 km2 (86 sq mi) and has a population growth rate of 0.87%, ranking the Newcastle area as South Africa's tenth-largest city.

The upper part of the Drakensberg mountain range curls around the city. The N11 is the principal road running through the city with the R34 being the alternate route. Major roadworks are being undertaken on both routes with the N11 bypass set for realignment south of Newcastle.

Newcastle is the seat of the local municipality by the same name as well as being the seat to the Amajuba District Municipality.


The city started as Post Halt Two on the journey between Durban (then Port Natal in Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek)[4] and Johannesburg. The city was strategically placed in 1854 by the Surveyor General of the Natal Colony, Dr PC Sutherland. It was later known as the Waterfall River Township because of the Ncandu River. In 1864, the town of Newcastle was founded on the site, becoming the fourth settlement to be established in Natal after Durban, Weenen and Pietermaritzburg. Newcastle was named after the British Colonial Secretary, the Duke of Newcastle. In 1876, Fort Amiel was constructed to ward off the Zulus. In 1873 Newcastle became a separate electoral division.[5] To commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond (60th) Jubilee the construction of a sandstone town hall started in 1897, and was completed two years later. The town was used as a depot by the British during both the First and Second Boer War. Newcastle functioned as a major transport junction and popular stopover for wagons and post chaises during the late 19th century.

British preparation work for the Pretoria Convention of 1881 was done at Newcastle.[6]

In 1890, the first train arrived in Newcastle, and the town was declared a borough in 1891. The discovery of coal brought a new era of prosperity and several ambitious building projects were planned.


This city serves the surrounding towns of Utrecht, Dannhauser, Glencoe and Dundee, maize, livestock and dairy farmers and country at large with an extensive amount of resources, products and goods some of which are also for export. The Newcastle economy is strong being dominated by Karbochem, Mittal Steel South Africa (previously ISPAT/ISCOR), the clothing / textile, service and engineering industry. There is also considerable coal mining in the area. Arcelor Mittal produces over 1.5 million tons of long steel products annually.

Although the Arcelor Mittal steelworks, the Natal Portland Cement (NPC) slagment cement plant, the LANXESS Chrome Chemical Plant and the Karbochem synthetic rubber plant (which covers 500,000 square metres (5,381,955 square feet) of manufacturing space) dominate the Newcastle industrial portfolio, there is a wide range of manufacturing undertakings sharing in the success of the region. Heavy Engineering Works such as DCD Dorbyl (DHE) and Boschpick Engineering supply ancillary services to these large concerns and undertake work thoroughout the region and country as a whole. Newcastle has welcomed many Chinese and Taiwanese into the region with the addition of over a hundred textile factories located in Riverside Industrial and Madadeni Industrial Estate.

In 2011 Independent Power South Africa (IPSA) converted the old Ngagane Power Station into the Newcastle Cogeneration Plant, an 18 MW gas fired powerstation that provides a dedicated power supply to the Karbochem Plant.

An indication of the industrial future of Newcastle is reflected in the chrome chemical plant, which was completed in Newcastle during 2002. This joint venture project between Karbochem and German speciality chemical manufacturing giant LANXESS has made Newcastle the largest producer of chrome chemicals in Africa. The company announced an investment of €40 million in 2012 towards the construction of an innovative CO2 plant (Cansolv chemical process) at its site.

In mid 2014, a portion of Airport Industrial was renamed to Newcastle Chemical Park, this being the home of African Amines (Pty) Ltd, Karbochem (Pty) Ltd, KC Energy (Pty) Ltd, LANXESS (CISA) (Pty) Ltd, Newcastle Co-generation (IPSA) and South African Calcium Carbide (Pty) Ltd.

Arcelor Mittal is currently undertaking a major reline on the N5 Blast Furnace to the tune of R1.6 billion. Other large operations include firms such as Formosa Plastics and Nova Clothing both of who manufacture goods for the country's leading retailers, a diamond cutting works, various engineering concerns, building industry related services such a brick manufacturing, roofing systems and steel reinforcement.

The Blackrock Casino Entertainment Hotel provides much entertainment to Newcastle and surrounding areas, whilst the newly built R500 million Newcastle Mall by Zenprop adjacent to it serves as a one stop shopping destination for the region.

Current urban development in Newcastle include the new multi-storey Civic Centre (almost complete); the multi-storey Newcastle Justice Complex; the newly completed expansion of the Victorian Mall; the Meadowlands Estate in Madadeni (residential estate with an open 30 000 sqm shopping mall); major extension and upgrade of the Madadeni Hospital (set to become a regional hospital), the Vulintaba Country Estate (old Dunblane) in the Drakensberg outside Newcastle, more development at the corner of Allen Street and Memel Roads - Newcastle Corner, new Allen Street Bridge and widening of Allen Street along Trim Park (almost complete), and the Newcastle Audi Centre under construction on the Equarand. Proposed future projects include the Newcastle Technology Hub, the Amajuba Hydroponic Technopark next to the airport, the Heartlands Dry Port next to the train station and the possible expansion of the Newcastle Airport.

From the 1880s, Newcastle experienced rapid economic growth. Today, Newcastle has the largest concentration of industry in northern KwaZulu-Natal.


Newcastle has three hospitals (two government & one private), Newcastle Provincial Hospital (186 bed), Madadeni Hospital (1620 authorised beds; 1154 usable beds)[7] and Mediclinic Newcastle (254 authorized beds; 186 operational beds). There are also several clinics and specialist physicians in almost every field. In addition, there is a large retirement centre with care facilities for the elderly community. There are also 16 government clinics in Osizweni and Madadeni,[7] improving the health of the broader community.

Society and culture[edit]


  • Carnegie Art Gallery, where major South African artists as well as local artists are represented. This historic building will soon be replaced with a new state-of-the-art gallery which will be built across it as part of the city's Civic Redevelopment.


Newcastle is home to the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir[8] – a provincial choir of international repute.

The annual Vodacom Winter Festival[9] aka 'Newcastle Show', provides a platform for South African bands and singers and attracts visitors from the entire region.

Local bands, whether in Newcastle or surrounding areas, have the opportunity to showcase their talents at Melo's Pub and Grill in Huttenheights (suburb). Aspiring bands come from as far as Johannesburg and Durban to entertain the crowded bar.

Museums, monuments and memorials[edit]


Newcastle remains a venue for major sports competitions and conferences because of the facilities the city has to offer. A variety of rugby, cricket, soccer, squash, tennis, swimming and other sport facilities has contributed to the its ability to host both national and international events.

The Olympic-sized Newcastle Swimming Pool (previously Ferrum Swimming Pool) has in the recent past hosted the All-Africa Development Gala. The greater Newcastle area has a modern indoor gym complex, five public swimming pools, two golf courses, a mashie course, two active bowling clubs, a horse riding club and 4x4 trails.

Newcastle Wrestling Academy is one of the top wrestling clubs in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal.[citation needed]

Newcastle is home to the Challengers Angling Club. An annual angling competition is held to assist local charities.[citation needed]

The local rugby club is the Newcastle Highlanders Rugby.

On the soccer front, Newcastle is home to Stella Football club which over the years has produced players to represent the country.[citation needed]


Primary and secondary education[edit]

Ferrum High School is a culturally diverse[clarification needed] parallel medium school. Both the Newcastle Brass Band and the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir are at home at Ferrum. Newcastle High School[11] and St. Dominic's Academy Newcastle[12] are two of the well known[citation needed] schools which are in Newcastle. Newcastle is home to several buildings that have been declared National Monuments, such as The Pavilion at St. Dominic's, which was designed by Brother Nivard Streicher and built in 1912. It was declared a monument in 1977 by Dr. Piet Koornhof.[13][14] Newcastle High School is the oldest school in the area, now in its 126th year. The original school buildings are still in use today as the school's administration block. Zama High School is one of the few schools in Osizweni which are considered to be the best schools in the whole of Amajuba District when it comes to learning and teaching.[citation needed] There are also some famous schools[citation needed] in Madadeni and Osizweni such as St. Lewis Bertrands High School, Bethamoya High School, Phendukani High School, Siyamukela High School, Thubelihle High School, Ikhwezi High School and Sabela Senior Secondary School being the only high school situated at Madadeni Section 5, which is mostly popular for athletics as the school main sporting code. Other schools include Amajuba High School, St. Oswalds, Tugela High School and Lincoln Heights Secondary School. Some junior schools are Hutten Park Primary, Drakensberg Primary, Newcastle Senior Primary, Busy-Bee and Arbor Park Primary, Lennoxton Primary, S.E. Vawda Primary, Suryaville Primary and Chelmsford Primary.[citation needed]

Tertiary Education[edit]

Majuba FET College has 5 separate campuses around Newcastle and Dundee.

Qualitas Career Academy, a national private college has a campus in the CBD. It caters for full-time and part-time studies for students as well as corporate training and consulting services for businesses and government departments.

Notable people[edit]



International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Newcastle is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)" (PDF). pp. xlv–lii. 
  2. ^ "The Witness". 
  3. ^ a b c d "Main Place Newcastle". Census 2011. 
  4. ^ "Newcastle". 
  5. ^ Theal, George McCall (1919). History of South Africa, from 1873 to 1884, twelve eventful years, with continuation of the history of Galekaland, Tembuland, Pondoland, and Bethshuanaland until the annexation of those territories to the Cape Colony, and of Zululand until its annexation to Natal. London: Allen. p. 281. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Theal, George McCall (1919). History of South Africa, from 1873 to 1884, twelve eventful years, with continuation of the history of Galekaland, Tembuland, Pondoland, and Bethshuanaland until the annexation of those territories to the Cape Colony, and of Zululand until its annexation to Natal. London: Allen. p. 128. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Madadeni Provisional Hospital". 
  8. ^ "NKZN Youth Choir". 
  9. ^ "Winterfestival - Newcastle Winterfees / Winter Festival". Winterfees. 
  10. ^ "Fort Amiel". South African Heritage Resources Agency. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  11. ^ Newcastle High School
  12. ^ "St Dominic’s Academy - leading independent school in Newcastle". 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "St Dominics Academy Pavilion St Dominics". South African Heritage Resources Agency. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "Nanchang City and Sister Cities Intercommunion". Nanchang Municipal Party Committee of the CPC and Nanchang Municipal Government. Nanchang Economic Information Center. Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 

External links[edit]