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Piet Retief, Mpumalanga

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Country  South Africa
Language spoken  Zulu
Area  66.00 km2
District  Gert Sibande
Founded  1882

Piet Retief is a town situated in a timber growing region in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. It is the seat of the Mkhondo Local Municipality. It is located not far from the Swaziland border. The town was founded by the Voortrekkers in 1883 and named it after the Voortrekker leader, Piet Retief, who was killed by the Zulus under their King Dinganes orders after he tried to settle on their land.


Map of Piet Retief, Mpumalanga

In 1886, the inhabitants of the town declared the Klein Vrystaat (Little Free State), which contained a population of only 72. This republic existed until 1891, when it was incorporated into the South African Republic.

Markets in piet retief south africa

The town became a municipality in 1932. Its main tourist attraction is the Dutch Reformed Church that was designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk and built in 1921.

The area has an annual rainfall of 1000 mm. Its main economic activities are timber, paper and wattle bark production as well as mica, kaolin and iron mining.

Name change

On 2 February 2010, South African Arts and Culture minister Lulu Xingwana approved a state decision for Piet Retief to be renamed to eMkhondo. Like many other post-apartheid name changes in South Africa, the incident remains controversial. Most residents are uncertain what the new name means, and have argued that "Piet Retief" did not evoke widespread public offence, as did Verwoerdburg. Prominent Afrikaner groups, including the Freedom Front Plus, have promised to contest the change.



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