My vreugdes en frustrasies


WPC Names: Amanzi (water)

Mtwalume River, Mtwalume

Mtwalume River, Mtwalume

WPC Names

Having grown up in one of the drier regions of South Africa, I am still endlessly fascinated by the natural bodies of water in KwaZulu-Natal, where we have been living for the past two years. I am also captivated by the history of this region, previously known as the Zulu Kingdom and formed during the reign of King Shaka Zulu (1816-1828).

The Zulus are known for carefully considering and allocating names to their prized objects and valued places in keeping with the history and specific characteristics thereof. The following are examples of aptly named towns, rivers and beaches in our area:

The small town of Umkomaas rests beside the mouth of the navigable uMkhomazi River, where a large number of whales once used the estuary as a nursery, giving birth in the shallows. The Zulus named the river after this spectacle – uMkhomazi means the place of cow whales.

The photos below were captured in a small nature reserve just outside the town of Scottburgh on the banks of the Mpambanyoni River. The name of this river means confuser of birds because the huge reed beds and meandering course make it hard for the birds to find their nests.

Sezela is a small town with a big sugar mill on the mouth of iSezela River. According to legend, this is the place where King Shaka Zulu hunted down a man-eating crocodile named iSezela. This name means the one who smells out, for it was said that the crocodile hunted its prey like a wild dog following a trail.

The pictures below are of the Fafa River mouth next to the beautiful town of Ifafa. The name is derived from the Zulu word “iFafa” which means sparkling, referring to the sparkling water of the river and the ocean.

Β Umzumbe is a seaside resort situated at the mouth of the Mzumbe River (bad kraal/place). The river was named for a band of Hlongwa cannibals (bad people!) who occupied the river valley. This tribe was almost wiped out by King Shaka Zulu in 1828.

Then, of course, there is the incredibly beautiful Mtwalume River, winding its way to the ocean between Mtwalume Beach and Elysium Beach (which we now call home). The river was named for the tall upright trees growing on the banks of the river, the bark of which was traditionally used by the Zulus for medicinal purposes.

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  1. So interessant! Pragtige foto’s.

  2. Blog Andrew

    Lovely photos Hester and you’ll guess I enjoyed reading about Zulu history, tell me why don’t the whales visit and use the estuary as a nursery anymore? Because of us humans?

    • Comment by post author

      That seems to be the general consensus. A harbour was built there in 1861 for the export of sugar. More recently, in 1954 an industrial cellulose plant was built closeby and this was taken over by a pulp and paper plant. There are conservation developments in place at the nearby Aliwal Shoal rocky reef, but only time will tell whether these efforts will be successful.

  3. Ag dankie Hester. Dit was nou lekker om Γ± “update” te kry oor jul omgewing. Met diΓ© dat ek ook daar rond groot geword het, was dit nou Γ± heerlike kuier saam met jou.

  4. Ah nou weet ek ook.
    Mooi foto’s soos gewoonlik

  5. Sjoe dis interessant!

  6. lewies

    Lekker om te weet.

  7. Hillechien

    beautiful pictures

  8. Bravo… weggevoer in jou woorde.

  9. Regtig lekker om te lees en te kyk – dankie!

  10. Wow beautiful pictures!

  11. jmacindoe

    Nice shots – wish I was on a beach right now!

  12. Pragtige fotografie (soos gewoonlik) en baie interresante naam kennis wat jy deel. Dankie vir die fantastiese brokkie inligting!

  13. Wonderful and beautiful photos, thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  14. beautiful beach and the pictures capture the beauty of the place just perfect. Wish I could visit there…

  15. Dis lekker daar by julle see, mooi name of te nie!! πŸ˜‰

  16. Gorgeous photos! I must visit KZN soon, I think… but hubby says we must save for our immigration πŸ™„

  17. Interesant. alhoewel ons jare in Zululand gebly het, leer ek nog steeds.

    Ons mis die see, veral daardie see, geniet dit.