The Nkomazi Region in eastern Mpumalanga, a province of South Africa, makes a triangular wedge between Kruger National Park in the north, Mozambique in the east and Swaziland in the south.
The Kaalrug mountain range, on the western border, forms the beginning of the Drakensburg mountain range that runs all the way down to the Cape. Reportedly, some of the oldest rocks in the world and the largest and oldest meteorite impact deposit has been found in Kaalrug, as well as some of the oldest fossils on earth. Hidden in this range you can also find some of the oldest rock carvings that were painted by the San tribes, estimated to be circa 3,000 years ago. This art shows the lives and beliefs of the people of those days.
The Nkomazi region's weather ranges from extreme heat in the summer months of September to April, (often over 40 degrees C) accompanied by fierce thunderstorms, to cold winters from May to August. The weather, and in particular the heavy rains, present major problems for people who live in shacks.
However Nkomazi is home to a vibrant collection of communities with diverse and unique backgrounds. Nkomazi suffers from a controversial past in significant historical events, and, its remoteness from South Africa’s thriving capitals, contributed to rampant poverty and innumerable challenges related to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Nkomazi, At A Glance:
- Census of 2011 - from Statistics SA
- Largest towns: Malelane, Hectorspruit and Komatiport (included in census figures)
- Composition: 30 Wards, spread over 34 Villages (with populations ranging from traditional villages of less than 200 persons, up to rural townships of more than 40,000 residents)
- There are over 120 schools in the region
- In some populations, specifically the migrant workers who cannot access the government-provided medical assistance, the percentage of persons who are HIV+ can top 50% (independent survey conducted on farms in 2012)