Witbank – The City of Coal
The province of Mpumalanga features one of the best cities it has in store: the city of Witbank. The city is situated in the Highveld region of the province, enjoying a cooler climate due to the higher altitude above the sea level. It is also called as the city of eMalahleni which means a “city of coal”, emphasizing the primary role of the city in the mining industry of the entire province.
The name Witbank is literally translated to “White Ridge”; derived from the sandstone where most wagon drivers frequently take a rest after collecting the mined coal in the city.
The city of Witbank was established in 1890 right after the discovery of the rich coal deposit in the area. However, the plan to exploit produce from the mining operations had never been successful until Pretoria’s railway expanded to the area four years later. Nine years later, Witbank was recognized as a town. After eleven years, it developed into a municipality whereas the government preferred the use of the name eMalahleni for the municipality, the city, and the district. The problem is that local residents have opted to call it through its original name.
Different stories have emerged with regard to how the city was founded but the most influential story about the arrival of Sir Winston Churchill in the area, specifically, in the Delagoa Bay Colliery and Transvaal after his escape from the Pretoria’s Boer Prison. Accordingly, loyal citizens toward the crown aided Churchill in hiding, allowing him to escape successfully. Because of this claim, the economy of Witbank was supported by different companies such as the Renova Group, Evraz, Exxaro, and the Anglo American.
In 2006, the name Witbank was renamed to eMalahleni emphasizing the translation of the name as the “city of coal” together with the municipality the city has. Numerous signs existing in the town were changed in accordance with the name change that took place although some signs on structures and signs remained using the original name of the town.
Those who love football will be proud knowing the fact that Witbank is where the Black Aces Football team of Mpumalanga resides As well as the provincial Rugby Team of Puma. The Skydiving Club of Witbank is also famous in the province due to the clubs ability to organize numerous recreational activities for more than thirty years now. Surrounding enterprises and institutions are also organizing sports activities such as hiking, marathon, and trailing.
Aside from the sport royalties that we can find in Witbank, knowing that this town was the place where the Miss World of 1974 came from is another fact worth of being proud of. Nineteen year old Anneline Kriel who won the 1974 Miss World Pageant resides in this town. Who knows? Another resident might embrace another title for South Africa.
Events and Festivities
Couples who are planning to create the best wedding ceremony in the future can participate in the Witbank Wedding Expo. Here, couples will be able to meet professional wedding planners ranging from gown designers up to culinary professionals. They all are willing to help couples in creating the perfect wedding plan.
Another event worth participating in is the Rotary Greatest Train Race. Back in 1987, the Coalfield Rotary Club spearheaded the first race against the steam train of Amcoal railway. The first race passes between the city of Witbank and the city of Wolvekrans. After five years, the race was relocated on the line between the cities of Witbank and Middleburg. Because of this relocation, the two largest cities of the Mpumalanga province became participative with the said event. In addition, all four Rotary Clubs in the locality managed to participate as well, making this event the greatest train race in the country.
Places of Interests
Pilgrims will surely love the Mission Station of Botshabelo where Christians took refuge in the past. Today, it is recognized as a center where different people from different cultures gather together in order to be educated and trained, especially, under the light of Christianity.
Those who like to play golf can visit Graceland and the Middleburg Gold Courses, both located near Witbank. With grandeur scenery surrounding the golf courses, those who are playing golf will enjoy every game like never before. Aside from the surrounding picturesque, these establishments also offer recreations that families can enjoy ranging from golf trainings up to simple banquet hosting designed for community gathering.
If serenity plays an important factor, then, the Nature Reserve of the Loskop Dam can give people a tranquil place to visit. In this place, one will find different species that have helped South Africa to achieve its fame with regards to wildlife and natural environment.