Thornhill, Enoch Mgijima

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For the settlement in Kouga Local Municipality, see Thornhill, Kouga.

Thornhill Village
Thornhill is located in Eastern Cape
Thornhill is located in South Africa
Coordinates: 31°58′44″S 26°35′28″E / 31.979°S 26.591°E / -31.979; 26.591Coordinates: 31°58′44″S 26°35′28″E / 31.979°S 26.591°E / -31.979; 26.591
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceEastern Cape
DistrictChris Hani
MunicipalityEnoch Mgijima
 • Total8.26 km2 (3.19 sq mi)
 • Total5,288
 • Density640/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African99.5%
 • Indian/Asian0.1%
 • Other0.3%
First languages (2011)
 • Xhosa95.3%
 • Sotho1.7%
 • Other2.9%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Area code045

Thornhill is a rural village in Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality under the Chris Hani District Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Under the previous political dispensation (till 1994) it fell in the Ciskei homeland. Thornbill is the biggest village in the [Ntabethemba].


From 1976, around 30 000-50 000 people moved from 23 villages in Sterkspruit and Herschel to an empty piece of land known as Thornhill. Three reasons have been given for the exodus. The first reason was that the then leader of Ciskei, Lennox Sebe, who was involved in a power struggle with Justice Mabandla lured the people of Herschel to consolidate his political power in Ciskei. By promising the local leader more privileges in Ciskei, he was able to draw people to the area.[2]

The second reason that has been brought forward is the application of the Citizenship Act of 1970 “which assigned all African South Africans citizenship in one of the bantustans, whether or not they had ever lived there or had any ties to them”. This act was aimed at resettling Black people outside what was called White South Africa.[3]

The third reason is that there was land scarcity, soil erosion and overpopulation in Herschel. Before the people of Herschel moved to Thornhill, they were promised land, houses, schools and clinics by Mr Uys, the South African Deputy Secretary of Bantu Administration and Education. However, when they arrived in Thornhill by the thousands, the only thing they found were tents that couldn't even cater for all of them. The conditions were tough in the first few months. There was a lack of shelter for the refugees and livestock died because of the lack of feed. In January 1977 it was reported that 10 babies died. Nevertheless, the people remained in Thornhill.[4] The conditions at Thornhill were described in a 1983 article by the New York Times, with the paper reporting that 50% of children were said to have died before the age of 5.[5]

Land restitution[edit]

In 2013, the South African Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Pamela Tshwete, awarded more than R390 million to 3 043 households in compensation to the people of the Ntabethemba village. During Phase 1 of the process, R137 345 350.59 was released and each of the 1 071 households received an amount of R128 240.29, while the 1972 claims in the second phase were finalised and paid in 2014. The claimants, currently residing in Ntabethemba, live in the following villages: Merino Walk, Thornhill, Mitford, Bacle's Farm, Tendergate, Tembalethu, Rocklands, Zola, Phakamisa, Ikhwezi and Cangca village in Seymour. [3]


The following schools serve the village and surrounding areas:

Inyathi High School

Thornvale Primary School

Nonzwakazi Primary

Mthombo-wesizwe Primary School

Hlalethembeni Primary School


Located between Queenstown and Tarkastad, Thornhill relies on both towns for administrative and public services. Both towns provide a source of employment for the people of Thornhill.


The following statistics describing Thornhill are from the 2011 census.[6]

  • Area: 8.26 square kilometres (3.19 sq mi)
  • Population: 5288 : 640.32 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,658.4/sq mi)
  • Households: 1477: 178.85 per square kilometre (463.2/sq mi)
Gender Population %
Male 2383 45.06
Female 2905 54.94
Race Population %
Coloured 2 0.04
Black African 5260 99.47
White 2 0.04
Indian or Asian 6 0.11
Other 18 0.34
First language Population %
Afrikaans 14 0.26
isiXhosa 5043 95.37
English 45 0.85
Sesotho 90 1.70
Setswana 19 0.13
isiZulu 11 0.21
isiNdebele 7 0.13
Xitsonga 2 0.04
Sepedi 10 0.19
Other 24 0.45


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Thornhill". Census 2011.
  2. ^ "The Implications of Freedom: The changing role of land sector NGOs in a transforming South Africa (Politics and Economics in Africa) (v. 6)". Wiebe Nauta. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Deputy Minister hands over R390 million Restitution Award in Thornhill, Tarkastad". South African Government. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  4. ^ Wiebe Nauta (2004). The Implications of Freedom: The Changing Role of Land Sector NGOs in a Transforming South Africa. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 121–. ISBN 978-3-8258-7798-9.
  5. ^ Lelyveld, Joseph. "MISERY IN A SOUTH AFRICAN 'HOMELAND'".
  6. ^ "Thornhill census". Adrian Firth.

See also[edit]