Ladysmith,South Africa

Ladysmith is City/Area of KwaZulu-Natal, Latitude: -28.5587, Longitude: 29.779

Ladysmith is a city in the Uthukela District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It lies 230 kilometres (140 mi) north-west of Durban and 365 kilometres (227 mi) south-east of Johannesburg. Important industries in the area include food processing, textiles, and tyre production. Motor vehicle tyres are produced by "Sumitomo Rubber South Africa" in the nearby township of Steadville.


Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith
In 1847 after buying land from the Zulu king Mpande, a number of Boers settled in the area and called it the Republic of Klip River with Andries Spies as their commandant. The republic was annexed by the British in the same year and on 20 June 1850 was proclaimed a township called Windsor. On 11 October 1850 the name was changed to Ladysmith after Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith, also known as “Lady Smith,” the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith, the Governor of the Cape Colony. Sir Harry Smith was the British general governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner in South Africa from 1847 to 1852.

A fort was built in 1860 to protect the villagers from the Zulu.

The Second Boer War

The town hall during the siege in 1900, with Boer artillery damage to the bell tower
Battle of Ladysmith
Main article: Battle of Ladysmith
During the Second Boer War British commander Lieutenant General Sir George White made Ladysmith his centre of operations for the protection of Natal against the Boer forces. Starting on 29 October 1899 a number of short-lived battles were fought for control of the town, but after suffering heavy casualties the British forces retreated to Ladysmith and the Boer forces did not make use of the opportunity to follow up the attack and take control of the town.

Siege of Ladysmith
Main article: Siege of Ladysmith
Following the Battle of Ladysmith, whilst British forces under Lieutenant General Sir George White regrouped in the town, Boer forces surrounded Ladysmith. The siege lasted 118 days, from 2 November 1899 to 28 February 1900, during the most crucial stage of the war. Approximately 3,000 British soldiers died during the siege.

Relief of Ladysmith
Main article: Relief of Ladysmith
Three attempts by General Sir Redvers Buller to break the siege resulted in defeat for the British forces at the battles of Colenso, Spion Kop and Vaal Krantz. On 6 January 1900 the Boer forces of Commandant-General Piet Joubert attempted to end the siege by taking the town before the British could launch another attempt to break the siege. This led to the battle of Platrand (or Wagon Hill) south of the town.

Buller finally broke the siege on 28 February 1900 after defeating the Boers by using close cooperation between his infantry and artillery.

Winston Churchill, then a young war correspondent for The Morning Post (London), was present at the Relief of Ladysmith after having been taken prisoner (between Ladysmith and Colenso) and escaping earlier during the war.

Mohandas Gandhi, along with the stretcher-bearing corps that he had established earlier during the war, was involved in a number of actions that took place in and around Ladysmith during the Relief.

Military units involved in the Siege and Relief of Ladysmith
Light Horse Regiment
Manchester Regiment
Devonshire Regiment
Gordon Highlanders
Leicestershire Regiment
King’s Regiment (Liverpool)
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
5th Royal Irish Lancers
5th Dragoon Guards
18th Royal Hussars
19th Royal Hussars
Natal Carbineers
Scots Guards

Windsor Dam
Ladysmith is located on the banks of the Klip River (“stone river”), with the central business district and a large part of the residential areas located within the flood basin of the river. It is on the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains, about 26 km from the Van Reenen’s Pass.

Since it was established the town has suffered severely from flooding of the Klip River. During the 110 years up to 1997 with the completion of the Qedusizi Dam, 29 serious floods occurred. Minor flooding occurred almost every year.

The worst flooding in 30 years occurred in 1996 leading to R500 million in damages and the evacuation of 400 families. Efforts to control the flooding date back to the 1940s. In 1949 the Windsor Dam was completed, but this dam silted up very quickly and was not an effective means of flood control.

Climate chart (explanation)
  122  2815
  106  2815
  86  2713
  34  2510
  7  226
  1  203
  1  203
  6  225
  20  249
  58  2511
  90  2613
  108  2814
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: SA Explorer
showImperial conversion
Ladysmith has a subtropical highland climate (Cwb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with warm summers and cool, dry winters. It borders on a humid subtropical climate (Cwa). The average annual precipitation is 639 mm (25 in), with most rainfall occurring during summer.


Soofi Mosque
The Soofi Mosque on the banks of the Klip River was originally built some time between 1895 and 1910, but it was greatly extended in the 1960s.

Other buildings of interest are the Siege Museum, originally built in 1884 as a marketplace and the Town Hall, damaged by Boer artillery during the Second Boer War.

Main article: Ladysmith Airport
Ladysmith is served by a small airport, (IATA: LAY, ICAO: FALY) is located on the outskirts of town just below Platrand at 28°34’48?S 29°45’10?E. The Aerodrome is managed and operated by JetVision Holdings Pty Ltd.


Ladysmith railway station
The Danskraal Yard is located on the Free State main line and the Glencoe–Vryheid line and acts as a depot for train marshalling and maintenance as well as rail maintenance.

The passenger station is located some distance away from Danskraal close to the Central Business District.

The N11 links Ladysmith with Bergville and Newcastle, while the R103 provides access to Colenso, KwaZulu-Natal and the N3.

Traffic traveling between Durban and Johannesburg used to pass through Ladysmith up until the late 1980s, but the completion of the N3, bypassing Ladysmith 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the west, has caused a dramatic drop in traffic volumes through this town as well as others that are now bypassed.


School in Ladysmith
Veyisi Primary School
Sidingulwazi Primary School
Acaciavale Primary School
Aloe Park Primary School.
Andante Independent School
Hamilton Preparatory School
Islamic Educational Centre
Keate Street Primary School
Limit Hill Combined
MC Varman Primary School
Baldaskraal Primary School
ML Sultan
Mnambithi Primary
Monument Primary School
Nikela Primary School
Umbulwane Primary
Blue Bank primary
Kirkintulloch Combined school
Peace Town Combined School
Hursley Primary School
Kleinfontein Primary School
Inkuthu Primary School
Umvulo Primary School
Incwaba Junior Primary School
Insungulu Lower Primary School
Burford Primary School
Namakazi Combined Primary School
Madlala Combined Primary School
Douglas Primary School
Hollywood Primary School
Imbizo Primary School
St. Chad’s Primary School
Mabhumane Primary School
Amancamakazane Primary School
Isiqophamithi Primary School
Ifalethu Primary School
Good Hope Primary School
Ingcebo Yesizwe Primary
Mcitsheni Junior primary School Gqama Senior School Damu Junior primary school

Masoyi Secondary School
Silindokuhle Secondary School
Emhlwaneni High School
DrJoseph Shabalala secondary School
Ekukhuleni High School
Ezakheni High School (Junior)
Harvest High School
Islamic Educational Centre
Ladysmith High School (LHS)
Ladysmith Secondary (LASEC)
Limit Hill Combined
Hlope Secondary
Tatane Secondary
Sakhelwe High School
Windsor Secondary School
Mhlwaneni high school
Qophindlela Secondary
uxolo nokuzwana secondary
Sicelokuhle High School
ingula High School
Phayikeni High School
Intababusuku Secondary
Indakane High School
Entonjeni High School
Steadville High School
St. Chad’s High School
Bhekintuthuko Secondary School
Ndalela High School
Siphimfundo Secondary
Intandoyesizwe High School
Maweni High School
Mzimela High School
Sgweje High School
Mbango High School
Limehill Junior High School
Ndalela High School
Special schools
Inkanyezi Special School[citation needed]
Boston City Campus
Mnambithi FET College is a public college offering Further Education & Training.
Qualitas Career Academy, caters for full-time and part-time studies for students as well as corporate training and consulting services for businesses and government departments. There are a variety of academic divisions.
Society and culture
The only sold local newspaper in Ladysmith is the Ladysmith Gazette. The Ladysmith Gazette is just over a century old, and is believed to have been established in 1902. The Ladysmith Gazette is part of the Caxton Group of newspapers. One of two free local newspapers is the Ladysmith Herald. The other free newspaper is the Times of Ladysmith.

Museums, monuments and memorials
The Second Boer War
A large number of the Second Boer War Battlefields around Ladysmith have been preserved as memorial sites. Monuments and memorials to those who died during the battles have been erected at most of them.

Siege museum
Located next to the town hall there is a small museum detailing the battles and history at the time of the Siege. The museum was opened in 1985 and holds around 60,000 documents related to the Siege and Boer War.

Imperial Light Horse Memorial on Platrand
Platrand/Wagon Hill

The Burgher Memorial
Located just south of the town, this area saw action during the Relief of Ladysmith. The Burgher Memorial on Wagon Hill was erected in honour of Boer forces killed during the siege and relief of Ladysmith.

On Platrand there are memorials to the Imperial Light Horse, the Devonshire Regiment, the Earl of Ava and a number of others.

Castor and Pollux

Castor and Pollox in front of the Town Hall
Two RML 6.3 inch Howitzers used by the British during the Siege stand in front of the Town Hall.

Mohandas Gandhi statue
A statue of Mohandas Gandhi can be seen at the Lord Vishnu Temple.

Ladysmith is the hometown of Joseph Shabalala, founder of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Thulani “Sugar Boy” Malinga, a champion boxer, was born in Ladysmith.

Elmer Symons, Dakar Rally rider, was killed in the 2007 edition while leading the Marathon class.

Diyo Sibisi, soccer player, was born in Sahlumbe, under Uthukela district in KwaZulu Natal.

Thamsanqa Gabuza, soccer player, plays for Orlando Pirates, was born in Ladysmith.


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Christianity has a strong presence in and around Ladysmith. It can be seen through the beautiful places of worship built around the time of the Anglo Boer wars. One such structure includes the Anglican All Saints Church, built in 1902 from cut flagstones from a quarry in the area.

Islam also has a strong presence in the town, which is well known for the Soofie Mosque and its astounding architecture. Built in 1969, it is regarded as one of the finest in the country. The origins of the marvellous structure date back to 1895 when Hazrath Soofie Saheb arrived in South Africa. He made it his mission to build as many as 12 mosques along the east coast of Durban. Ladysmith was also the home of a revered saint known as Hazrath Soofie Sayed Mahomed Abed Mia Osmani, who is buried in the Ladysmith Muslim Cemetery.

Hinduism. In 1902, Sanathan Dharma Sabha was inaugurated to promote religious, social, cultural and education activities in Ladysmith. The oldest Hindu temple resulted from the amalgamation of Hindu Thirokootam (1910) with the Shree Ganaser Temple and hall erected in 1916. It was declared a national monument in November 1990.

The present site of the SDS temple(Sanathan Dharma Sabha aka Lord Vishnu Temple) also housed Mahatma Gandhi who established a non-White Stretcher-bearer service in the Ambulance Corps in the Ladysmith and Spioenkop during the Anglo-Boer War.

There are also Rastafarian devotees within the areas surrounding Ladysmith, residing in Waters meet, Peace Town, eZakheni,Steadville, Saint Chad s, Acaciaville and Roosbom. They are spiritual people, scholars of black consciousness and African liberation,They run businesses, they are musicians, poets, artists and writers. They are the keepers of different African philosophies.

5 South African Infantry Battalion is based in Ladysmith. A military shooting range is located on the outskirts of the town between the Aerodrome and Platrand.

Notable people
André Joubert – rugby union player
Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga – boxer and WBC middleweight champion
Thapelo Mokoena – actor, presenter, filmmaker
Menzi Ngubane – Generations actor
Msheng Shabalala – singer Ladysmith Black Mambazo
See also
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in South Africa
Hewetson, George Benson (1908). “Ladysmith”. The mountains and other poems. London: Sisley’s. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
Ladysmith — a novel by Giles Foden that is set in Ladysmith
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria — a book by Winston Churchill that includes an account of the Relief of Ladysmith
Gore, St. John (1901). The Green Horse in Ladysmith. Sampson, Low, Marston and Co. Available as The Green Horse in Ladysmith at the Internet Archive
Donald, MacDonald (1900). How We Kept the Flag Flying: The Story of the Siege of Ladysmith. Ward, Lock & Co. Available as How We Kept the Flag Flying: The Story of the Siege of Ladysmith at the Internet Archive
Steevens, George Warrington. From Capetown to Ladysmith: An Unfinished Account of the South African War. available as
From Capetown to Ladysmith by George Warrington Steevens at Project Gutenberg
Norris, Stephen Leslie (1900). The South African War, 1899-1900 : a military retrospect up to the relief of Ladysmith. John Murray. Available as The South African War, 1899-1900 : a military retrospect up to the relief of Ladysmith at the Internet Archive
Wilkinson, Spenser (1900). Lessons of the War: Being Comments from Week to Week, to the Relief of Ladysmith. Constable. Available as Lessons of the War: Being Comments from Week to Week, to the Relief of Ladysmith at the Internet Archive
Atkins, John Black (1900). The relief of Ladysmith. Methuen. Available as The relief of Ladysmith at the Internet Archive
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi — contains a number of chapters dealing with Ladysmith:
Volume II – Indians in Ladysmith (29-10-1903); Indian Store-Keepers in Ladysmith (5-11-1903); Indian Licences in Ladysmith (10-12-1903)
Volume IV – Ladysmith Licences (11-2-1904)
Volume V – The Ladysmith Licensing Board (21-4-1906); Indentured Indians in Ladysmith (23-6-1906)
Volume VI – Ladysmith Licences (23-2-1907); Ladysmith Appeals (20-4-1907); Licence Case in Ladysmith (11-5-1907); Ladysmith Struggle (18-5-1907)
Volume VII – The Ladysmith Traders (31-8-1907); Licences in Ladysmith (31-8-1907); Indian Merchants of Ladysmith (26-10-1907)
“Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)” (PDF). pp. xlv–lii.
Jump up to: a b c d “Main Place Ladysmith”. Census 2011.
Jump up to: a b c “Ladysmith History & The Boer War”. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
Smith, Harry (1903). “The Autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith”. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
Durand, Henry Mortimer; White, George Stuart (1915). “III – Arrival in South Africa”. The life of Field-Marshal Sir George White, V.C. Volume II. Edinburgh, London: W. Blackwood. pp. 17–27. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
Rickard, J (2007-02-05). “Siege of Ladysmith, 2 November 1899 – 27 February 1900”. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
Creswicke, Louis. “From the Commencement of the War to the Battle of Colenso, 15th Dec. 1899”. South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 2 (of 6). Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
“Winston Churchill”. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
“Churchill, Sir Winston”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
Radhakrishnan, S. (2000). Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections. Jaico Publishing House. p. 510. ISBN 978-81-7224-122-3.
“Water resource management”. South African Government Information. 1998. Archived from the original on 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
Jump up to: a b “The problem of flooding in Ladysmith, Natal, South Africa”. Engineering Geology Special Publications. Geological Society, London. 1998. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
“Disaster management guidelines for municipalities”. National Disaster Management Centre. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2014. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
“Soofi Mosque”. Amafa / Heritage KwaZulu Natal. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Heritage KwaZulu Natal. Retrieved 18 February 2012. External link in |work= (help)
Browne, James Stark (1906). “The Battlefields”. Through South Africa with the British Association. London: J Speirs. p. 73.
“The Siege Museum”. Tourism Archived from the original on 2003-10-25. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
“KwaZulu-Natal Freight Transport Data bank”. KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
“Heritage Impact Assessment of Braamhoek Integrated Power Supply Project” (PDF). eThembeni Cultural Heritage. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-20. Archived 2008-03-17 at the Wayback Machine
“52. Ladysmith Siege Museum”. National Archives and Records Service (NARS). Retrieved 2008-10-22.
“Platrand & Burger Memorial”. Heritage KwaZulu Natal. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
“The Ofical site of Ladysmith Black Mambazo”. Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
“Thulane MALINGA”. Boxing Records Online. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
“Infantry Formation”. South African Army. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
External links

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