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Thembisa township
Thembisa township
Thembisa is located in Gauteng
Thembisa is located in South Africa
Thembisa is located in Africa
Coordinates: 26°00′20″S 28°12′37″E / 26.0055°S 28.2102°E / -26.0055; 28.2102Coordinates: 26°00′20″S 28°12′37″E / 26.0055°S 28.2102°E / -26.0055; 28.2102
CountrySouth Africa
 • Councillor(ANC)
 • Total42.80 km2 (16.53 sq mi)
 • Total463,109
 • Density11,000/km2 (28,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African98.9%
 • Coloured0.2%
 • Indian/Asian0.1%
 • White0.1%
 • Other0.7%
First languages (2011)
 • Northern Sotho33.1%
 • Zulu21.7%
 • Tsonga13.3%
 • Xhosa7.0%
 • Other24.9%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Area code011

Thembisa, formerly Tembisa (Dindela),[2] is a large township situated to the north of Kempton Park on the East Rand, Gauteng, South Africa. It was established in 1957 when black people were resettled from Alexandra and other areas in Edenvale, Kempton Park, Midrand and Germiston.


The township was founded in 1957. After the Afrikaner-dominated National Party gained power in 1948 and began to implement apartheid, the pace of forced removals and the creation of townships outside legally designated white areas increased. The Johannesburg council established new townships for black people evicted from the city's freehold areas.

In 1956, townships were laid out for particular ethnic groups as part of the state's strategy to sift black people into groupings that would later form the building blocks of the so-called "independent homelands". It is the second largest township in Gauteng, following Soweto.

In 1977 the government initiated the Community Councils and in 1982 upgraded them to Town Councils, under the Black Local Authorities Act. The government vested limited powers on these councils but without financial muscle. Therefore, to raise revenue for purposes of developing the townships, the councils increased rent and service charges. This caused the residents in different townships, including Thembisa, to establish civic structures to resist the rent and service charge increases.[3]

On 26 July 2016, residents were caught off guard when a tornado hit the area. The twister started in Kempton Park and moved over to Thembisa, causing the most destruction here. Around 20 individuals were seriously injured and in excess of 400 were left destitute. A standout amongst the most noticeable sights was the damage caused to the Phumulani Mall, where the rooftop crumbled after the tornado passed through it.[4]



Thembisa is connected to Pretoria in the north and Kempton Park in the south via two main roads, namely the M57 Metropolitan Route and the R21 e-toll Highway. The R21 Highway and the M57 Route both bypass Thembisa to the east.

The northern part of Thembisa is connected to Midrand in the west by the R562 Route (Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Road). The R562 forms the boundary between Thembisa and Olifantsfontein (Clayville).

The main route through the Thembisa town centre is the M18 Route, which is formed by two roads (Andrew Mapheto Drive and Reverend RTJ Namane Drive). It connects Thembisa with Olifantsfontein and Centurion in the north and with Chloorkop (near Kempton Park West) in the south-west.[3]


The main Metrorail route between Pretoria in the north and Johannesburg via Germiston in the south has a station in Thembisa east, namely the Oakmoor station. Just south of the Oakmoor station is a branch rail which heads north-west into the township, with the stations on the branch rail being Thembisa in the east, Limindlela in the center and Leralla in the west.[2]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Tembisa". Census 2011.
  2. ^ a b Mbuli, Mbekezeli. "Tembisa to get missing 'h' back after years of misspelling". The Citizen. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  3. ^ a b "SAHA - South African History Archive - Tembisa in the 1980s - Civic structures". Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  4. ^ "Roof of Tembisa mall collapses after tornado rips through area". TimesLIVE. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2021.