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29th June 2003Emshwati
By Peter Ewart
Hoping someone on the forum can help me here!

Whichever map of KZN I use (ancient or modern!) I can't seem to locate a place known as Emshwati (eMshwati/Mshwati etc?) and wonder if someone with a better map - or perhaps an RSA resident - can put me right, please?

I've been reduced to using the multimap site and even googling for clues, & there are suggestions the place may be perhaps near PMB or Howick, or perhaps in the Mvoti region of what was Natal, rather than on the other side of the Thukela.

I ask because of some biographical research I've been doing (& which I pick up only intermittently) on a Zulu who says he was born at Emshwati on 30 Sep 1876. His handwriting is perfectly clear although the spelling obviously follows contemporary Zulu orthography as taught by the British.

I have no idea how he knew his exact date of birth, although if he'd been born near the mission stations of either Edendale, Springvale or High Flats & his birth perhaps recorded there, this might explain that. (Even though his father, who owned a few cattle, was definitely not a Christian at the time of his son's birth).

Anyway, he was christened at Isandlwana & eventually confirmed there (in St Vincent's) in 1887/88, thus suggesting he grew up in that district post-1879 at least, before Bishop Mackenzie's widow paid for him to be sent to England and educated at a public school in Sussex & then trained as a missionary before being returned to Zululand. I'm having some fun piecing together his time in England and also his employment at Isandlwana College in the '90s and during the 2ABW and afterwards.

When over here he fell in love with the game of cricket and became a very good player - a good enough reason on its own to embark upon the research! He was a keen footballer, too, and introduced this game to the Zulu at Isandlwana around 1898. (I thought of him when I saw Shiyane FC playing "FDL All-Stars" a little while back!)

When he visited his family for the first time on returning to S Africa, his own mother only just recognised him. This was in PMB, which again suggests Emshwati may be somewhere near there.

Someone will know where it is! Shall be grateful for any help received.

Many thanks

30th June 2003Stephen Coan
uMshwathi is the name of the municipality that includes Wartburg, Cramond, Swayimane, Essaye and Applesbosch. They are all north-east of Pietermaritzburg - a case of turning right off the road to Greytown. This an area missionised by the Lutherans.
30th June 2003Peter Ewart

That's a very helpful reply! Many thanks - I'm very grateful. I'm relieved that I seem to have "homed in" correctly (but vaguely) on the Pietermaritzburg area, having originally assumed the location was in Zululand until clues pointed elsewhere. Good to know the correct modern spelling, too!

Another example of the benefit of this site and the helpfulness of its contributors.