Queenstown, Eastern Cape
Komani City Hall
Rose Capital of South Africa
|• Total||71.3 km2 (27.5 sq mi)|
|• Density||970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||81.8%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
|Postal code (street)|
Queenstown, officially Komani, is a town in the middle of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, roughly halfway between the smaller towns of Cathcart and Sterkstroom. The town was established in 1853 and is currently the commercial, administrative, and educational centre of the surrounding farming district.
Queenstown was founded in early 1853 under the direction of Sir George Cathcart, who named the settlement, and then fort, after Queen Victoria. Work on its railway connection to East London on the coast was begun by the Cape government of John Molteno in 1876, and the line was officially opened on 19 May 1880.
The town prospered from its founding up to the worldwide depression of the 1930s, and again thereafter. In the 1960s, the majority of the Black population were moved east to the township of Ezibeleni, as part of the attempt to move African people to so-called "homelands". The area has in the past had very severe weather problems, luckily, often only affecting the surrounding areas. In 2002, heavy snowfall around Queenstown caused a severe disaster, especially since the area was not funded or ready for such a disaster. Then, in 2004, the surrounding areas of the Eastern Cape were affected by strong winds and heavy rainfall, although Queenstown once again escaped much flooding and some wind damage, power shortages soon followed. Other natural disasters include droughts and veld fires (wildfires).
The name of the town was changed to Komani in February 2016.
The following high schools serve the town and surrounding areas:
- Hexagon High School,
- Queen's College,
- Get Ahead Project and College,
- Queenstown Girls' High School,
- Hangklip High School,
- JJ Serfontein High School
- KwaKomani Comprehensive,
- Maria Louw High School,
- Nkwanca High School,
- Luvuyo Lerumo High School,
- John Noah High School,
- W.B. Rubusana High School
- Bulelani High School
Primary schools in the area include:
- ST.Theresa's Primary School
- Hangklip Primary
- Balmoral Girls' Primary School
- Queens College Primary
- Southbourne Primary
- Thembelihle Primary School
- Lukhanji Primary School
- Christ The King
- Mpendulo Primary School
- Edlelweni Primary School
- Nonesi Primary School
- Van Coller Public Primary School
- Royal Capital Education Centre
Tertiary education institutions in Queenstown include
- Walter Sisulu University,
- Ikhala Public FET College,
- Boston City Campus and Business College
- Lukhanji FET College.
The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Queenstown as well as the Anglican Church's Diocese of Ukhahlamba. The imposing Cathedral of St. Michael lies adjacent to the town's public gardens. Churches of all faith denominations are to be found in and around the town.
The town lies on the Komani River which forms part of the Great Kei system of rivers and has a refreshing climate and plentiful water supply from the surrounding rugged mountains. The water is collected in the Bongolo Dam, set in the hills, used extensively for recreation and watersports. Each year, around the beginning of June, the town holds an art exhibition with the emphasis on paintings and sculpture. Perhaps inspired by some of the most interesting Bushman paintings in nearby caves, which are accessible to the visitor.
Close to the town is a nature reserve (Lawrence de Lange Game Reserve) with numerous antelope, white rhinoceros and spectacular flowering plants together with panoramic views from the mountain summit.
The layout of the town reflects its original objective as a defensive stronghold for the frontier area and has a most unusual design. There is a central hexagonal area where canon or rifle fire could be directed down six thoroughfares radiating from the centre. The canon sites have now been replaced with gardens and a central fountain was the dominant feature. A striking abstract sculpture replaced the fountain as part of the town's 150th anniversary. The hexagon still exists, with the outer road surrounding it named Robinson Road, which encircles it. Surrounding the Hexagon to the east and west lies more commercial and administrative facilities.
Currently, formerly 'white suburbs' (Sandringham, Kingsway, Windsor, Bergsig, Blue rise, Balmoral, Madeira Park and a new fast-growing suburb of Komani Park) surround the hexagon to the north, east and west, however, one of the city's great townships (and squatter camps) lies to the south. It is a collection of black and coloured townships named Mlungisi, Aloevale, a new township, Victoria Park has been built to the south-east of the city. East of the town lies the much larger Ezibeleni township, which although roughly the same surface area as the main town, has by far a larger population.
Komani has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk), that borders on a subtropical highland climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb), and a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa).
|Climate data for Komani|
|Record high °C (°F)||40.6
|Average high °C (°F)||29.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||21.9
|Average low °C (°F)||14.5
|Record low °C (°F)||3.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||77
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||10.6||11.0||11.0||7.3||5.4||3.0||3.0||3.6||4.5||8.2||8.6||9.0||85.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||64||68||68||66||62||58||54||52||56||61||64||62||61|
|Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
The Komani area is in the Burgersdorp formation of the Tarkastad sub group, in the upper Beaufort Group Triassic in age in the karoo super group. The lithology is red mudstone 1 to 10 m rich layers and sub-ordinate 1 to 2 m rich sandstone layers deposited by meandering rivers in the flood plain in an oxidising environment gradually filling the Karoo basin. The formation reaches thickness of 600 m in the Komani (Queenstown) and Lady Frere area. Numerous dolerite dykes and ring structures intruded the area creating good localities for ground water exploration.
The town has a newspaper called The Representative, fondly known as the Rep, as well as The Express and a community radio station, Lukhanji fm. The Eastern Cape newspaper, Daily Dispatch, is widely read in the area.
Coats of arms
The Queenstown municipal council assumed a pseudo-heraldic coat of arms in October 1902. The shield was quartered, and depicted (1) the Union Jack, (2) a landscape with hangklip mountain in the background, (3) a landscape with a mimosa tree in the foreground, and (4) a portrait of King Edward VII. The crest was a demi-antelope, and the motto Unity is strength. The council later assumed a new coat of arms. The new shield displayed a golden royal coronet on a red background. The crest was the same as before, but the motto was translated into Latin as Ex unitate vires.
- Lionel Cronje
- Daryll Cullinan
- Carlo Del Fava
- Allan Dell
- Glen Dell
- Tony Greig
- Justin Kemp
- Robbi Kempson
- Rayne Kruger (1922-2002), author
- Kaya Malotana
- Ken McEwan
- Lwazi Mvovo
- Olive Schreiner
- Stratford Edward St Leger
- Linky Boshoff
- Ian Greig
- Mvula Kuhle
- Tembile Sgqolana
- Sum of the Main Places Queenstown and Mlungisi from Census 2011.
- "Government Gazette No. 39669" (PDF). South African Government. 9 February 2016. p. 9. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
- Burman, Jose (1984). Early railways at the Cape. Human & Rousseau. p. 86.
- Basic biographical details of Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer at the Dictionary of Scottish Architects Biographical Database.
- Raasch, Sonja (22 July 2002). "Snow rescue teams bring relief". Archived from the original on 1 September 2003.
- Prince, Chandré (27 September 2004). "Weekend weather batters Eastern Cape". Archived from the original on 8 November 2004.
- "Water drying up in north-eastern Cape". 30 August 1999. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012.
- Raasch, Sonja (31 August 1999). "Stofile demands facts on veld fire damage". Archived from the original on 12 May 2006.
- Menache, Philippe; David, Darryl Earl (2015). Church Tourism in South Africa: A Travel Odyssey : Also Featuring, On Tour with Wynand Louw. Menache and David (Self published). p. 28. ISBN 978-0-620-67799-8.
- "Klimatafel von Queenstown, Prov. Eastern Cape / Südafrika" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961–1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- Western Cape Archives : Queenstown Municipal Minutes (29 October 1902).
- The arms were depicted on a cigarette card issued in 1931.
- The arms are illustrated (in black and white) in the Official South African Municipal Yearbook (1983).