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Victoria Tower in Uitenhage
Victoria Tower in Uitenhage
Uitenhage is located in Eastern Cape
 Uitenhage shown within Eastern Cape
Coordinates: 33°46′S 25°24′E / 33.767°S 25.400°E / -33.767; 25.400Coordinates: 33°46′S 25°24′E / 33.767°S 25.400°E / -33.767; 25.400
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape
Municipality Nelson Mandela Bay
Established 1804[1]
 • Total 75.35 km2 (29.09 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 103,639
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 23.8%
 • Coloured 54.7%
 • Indian/Asian 1.2%
 • White 18.4%
 • Other 1.8%
First languages (2011)[2]
 • Afrikaans 68.9%
 • Xhosa 17.9%
 • English 10.4%
 • Other 2.9%
Postal code (street) 6229
PO box 6230
Area code 041

Uitenhage (/ˈjuːtɨnhɡ/; Afrikaans: [œi̯tənˈɦɑːxə]) is a South African town in the Eastern Cape Province. It is well known for the Volkswagen factory located there, which is the biggest car factory on the African continent. The city of Port Elizabeth and the small town of Despatch are located near Uitenhage.


Uitenhage was founded on 25 April 1804 by landdrost (district magistrate) Jacob Glen Cuyler and named in honour of the Cape's Commissioner-General Jacob Abraham Uitenhage de Mist by the Dutch Cape Colony governor, Jan Willem Janssens.[3] Uitenhage formed from part of the district of Graaff Reinet (shortly after its short-lived secession).

The Cape Colony received a degree of independence when "Responsible Government" was declared in 1872. In 1875 the Cape government of John Molteno took over the rudimentary Uitenhage railway site, incorporated it into the Cape Government Railways (CGR), and began construction of the lines connecting Uitenhage to Port Elizabeth and the Southern African interior. Two years later, in 1877, Uitenhage was declared a municipality. [4]

Nearly a hundred years later, as part of the Union of South Africa, Uitenhage became a centre for resistance against Apartheid. In 1985, police opened fire on a funeral procession in Uitenhage, killing a number of unarmed people, in an event that became notorious as an example of police oppression in South Africa under apartheid.[5][6]

In 2001 it was incorporated with Port Elizabeth and Despatch into the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.


Uitenhage is known for the large industries situated there. The largest of these industries are the Volkswagen and Goodyear factories. An automotive supplier park, Alexander Park Industrial, has also been created directly next to the Volkswagen factory, thus allowing automotive component manufacturers to construct their manufacturing plants close by.

Notable people from Uitenhage[edit]

  • Allan Hendrickse - Preacher-teacher-politician from apartheid politics
  • Charles Robert Redcliffe[citation needed] - Labour Party politician, community leader and anti-apartheid activist.
  • Christo van Rensburg - South African tennis player, ATP-ranked singles #19 in 1988 and doubles #5 in 1987[7]
  • Enoch Sontonga - composer of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika which is now part of the national anthem.
  • Garth Wright - Springbok rugby scrum-half from Muir College in the late 80s and early 90s[8]
  • James Wide - Double leg amputee railway signalman and owner of Jack the signal-baboon.
  • Jean-Paul (JP) Biko Keyter - RSG Radio Presenter, TV Sport Presenter/Writer on eNuus at etv, Kyknet, SABC Sport and Actor
  • Joseph Petrus Hendrik Crowe - British Army officer who was awarded the Victoria Cross
  • Lee-Roy Wright - South African actor and television presenter[9]
  • Loyiso Bala - South African R&B singer; part of Bala Brothers ground and TKZee[10]
  • Nantie Hayward - South African cricketer who now plays in the Indian Cricket League
  • Okkert Brits - Olympic pole vaulter
  • Sean Burke - musician, composer currently based in Randburg, Gauteng[11]
  • Smuts Ngonyama - ANC National Spokesman during Thabo Mbeki's Era. Recently appointed South African Ambassador to Spain
  • The Invaders[12] - popular South African music group from the 1960s
  • Johan van der Merwe - Springbok rugby centre 1969/70 British tour; from Die Brandwag Hoërskool.
  • Carel Fourie - Springbok rugby wing; from Die Brandwag Hoërskool.
  • Polla Fourie - Springbok rugby flank; brother of Carel; from Die Brandwag Hoërskool.
  • Ton Vosloo - Journalist; previous editor of Beeld (1977-1983), managing director Naspers Ltd 1984-1992, chair Naspers Ltd (1992-1997), Non-executive chair Naspers Ltd (1992-April 2015), Board Member of Multichoice South Africa and a director of Media24; from Die Brandwag Hoërskool.
  • Pierre Terblanche - Previous director of design at Ducati, Italy; from Die Brandwag Hoërskool.
  • Linky Boshoff - South African Tennis player; Won US Open Doubles Title at Forest Hills with Ilana Kloss 1976, Ranked no 1 Doubles 1976, reached 1/4 finals singles French Open 1977 and Wimbledon 1974 and 3rd round US Open 1975; from Riebeek College Girls High School.

Notable animals from Uitenhage[edit]

  • Jack - A chacma baboon trained as double leg amputee signalman James Wide's assistant.



  1. ^ "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)" (PDF). pp. xlv–lii. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Main Place Uitenhage". Census 2011. 
  3. ^ "Uitenhage is founded". sahistory. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Burman, Jose (1984), Early Railways at the Cape. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, p.66. ISBN 0-7981-1760-5
  5. ^ Thornton, R. J. (1990). "The Shooting at Uitenhage, South Africa, 1985: The Context and Interpretation of Violence". American Ethnologist 17 (2): 217–236. doi:10.1525/ae.1990.17.2.02a00020. JSTOR 645077. 
  6. ^ http://www.doj.gov.za/trc/hrvtrans/uiten/bucwa.htm
  7. ^ Christo van Rensburg - South African Airways ATP Rankings History
  8. ^ The Captain's Table: Panel: Garth Wright
  9. ^ "Lee-Roy Wright". tvsa.co.za. 
  10. ^ "Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality : Loyiso Bala". nelsonmandelabay.gov.za. 
  11. ^ Artist hits home with Consciousness Hip Hop
  12. ^ Gedye, Lloyd (22 November 2008). "Rise of The Invaders". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2015-07-16. 

External links[edit]

Note: Distances by tarred road as per SA Explorer – Uitenhage Distances