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Louis Trichardt

This article is about the town.

leader, see Louis Tregardt.

For the Voortrekker ple moved in dierent directions but most were moved to
the dry lands, west of the town, that would later become
known as Madombidzha, and they later stretched further
Louis Trichardt (formerly Trichardtsdorp) is a town west along the mountain.
at the foot of the Soutpansberg mountain range in the Their area grew over the years and was shared
Limpopo province of South Africa. It is named after amongst two chiefs. The area is well known as Hathe voortrekker leader Louis Tregardt. It is the centre Sinthumule/Kutama or simply Dzanani 2. Amongst the
of the Makhado Local Municipality, which comprises youth the name Western is fairly popular, as emphasizes
16,000 km with a total population of 270,000 (2001). that the area is far west of the Venda tribe.
Louis Trichardt is located in a fertile region where litchis, Here are the villages names:
bananas, mangoes and nuts are produced. The national
road N1 runs through the town. Louis Trichardt is 437
kilometres from Johannesburg and one hours drive from
the Zimbabwean border at Beitbridge. Louis Trichardt 2 Climate
was known as Makhado for a short period (see below).
Vleifontein, Elim, Tshikota, Madombidzha and Makhado
Park surrounds the town at all directions. The mayor of Louis Trichardt has a subtropical climate. The winters
are characterised by mild afternoons and cool evenings.
the town is F.D. Mutavhatsindi.
Winters usually last from June to August. Summers
experience warm and often humid temperatures with
the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. Most of Louis
1 History
Trichardts rainfall occurs in the summer months, from
November to March. The last few years have seen some
Like many other towns in South Africa, Louis Trichardt water restrictions put in place by the municipality mainly
had its origins in Voortrekker settlement of the area. Two due to drought in the area and lack of maintenance of the
groups of Trekkers reached the Soutpansberg mountain towns water supply system by the municipality.
range in 1836, one under the leadership of Louis Tregardt (born near Oudtshoorn, South Africa, 10 August
1783[2][3] ) and another under Hans van Rensburg. Van
Rensburg decided to lead his group to Sofala (near cur- 3 Geography
rent Beira), Mozambique, but his entire party was killed
en route.
Louis Trichardt is located in the lowveld. The area conTrigardt and his group stayed near the mountain, camping sists of savannah as well as high rainfall areas. The Soutnear what eventually became the town of Louis Trichardt. pansberg has forests where the fauna and ora are abunThey planted crops and started exploring the area north- dant. A wide variety of animal as well as bird species can
wards in an attempt to locate Van Rensburg and his group. be found in the Soutpansberg area. It is situated 79 km
After spending a year in the area, they decided to head from Thohoyandou and about 60 km from Dzanani.
for the fort at Delagoa Bay, a journey that took them
7 months to complete, during which more than half the
group perished (including Tregardt himself).

4 Demography

Other trekkers soon settled nearby, at Schoemansdal,

clashing with the Venda people who dwelt there. The According to the 2011 census, the population of Louis
town of Trichardtsdorp was nally founded in February Trichardt consists of 25,360 people in 7,129 households.
Of this population, 72.7% describe themselves as "Black
The Trekkers settled on the northern part of what would African", 20.0% as "White", 5.7% as "Indian or Asian"
later become a town while the Venda people resided at and 1.3% as "Coloured". 39.5% speak Venda as their rst
the southern part, about 800 meters apart. When the language, 22.8% speak Afrikaans, 11.7% speak English,
Trekkers decided to build a town they moved the Venda 6.6% speak Northern Sotho, 6.1% speak Tsonga and
people and constructed rms in the exact area. The peo- 2.6% speak Southern Sotho.[1]


Name change

The name change process in Louis Trichardt was a long

and rocky one. Early attempts to rename the town was
denied by the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) because there was already a township called
Makhado in the area. Authorities that wanted the change
were not put o, and opted to simply ask the people of
the township to change their name to something else. The
name Dzanani was chosen, but when they tried to register
the new township name the SAGNC informed them that
there was another village named Dzanani in the province
that had carried the name since 1965 already.
Again not dissuaded, the people of Dzanani were asked
to change the name of their village, so that Makhado
could change its name to Dzanani, and Louis Trichardt
could become Makhado. Eventually Dzanani changed its
name to Mphephu, and in 2003 the name of the town was
changed from Louis Trichardt to Makhado.
The name Makhado refers to the western Venda king
Makhado wa Ramavhoya (b. 1840?) who ruled over the
area from 1864 until his death in September 1895; his
fortress was on the mountains immediately north of the
city (less than 2 km away). Makhado played a role in
resisting settlement in the area by the Boers, who labeled
him the Lion of the North. Not much is known with certainty about the history of the area before the arrival of
the Voortrekkers, primarily because of limited eldwork
and incomplete records from the period, but archaeological and oral evidence together suggest that they arrived
in the Soutpansberg area from the north by the early 18th
century. The creation of Louis Trichardt in the immediate aftermath of the Boer military victory dislodging
Makhados son Mphephu (in late 1898) is however the
primary source of consternation over the name: leaving
it as Louis Trichardt is an aront to vhaVenda who feel it
celebrates aggression towards a whole culture, and changing it to Makhado provokes consternation on the opposite
side for precisely the same reason.


merce, various Afrikaner groups, and political parties

such as the Democratic Alliance and Freedom Front have
also spoken out against the name change.
In October 2005 the Louis Trichardt Chairpersons Association, an alliance of 51 organisations representing
more than 80,000 residents of the town, fought the name
change in the Pretoria High Court. They claimed that
less than 1% of the towns total inhabitants were consulted about the name change and that a public meeting
advertised to discuss the change was rescheduled without any notication, resulting in a very small attendance.
They also held that Makhado was never the name of a
person, and that the town Louis Trichardt didn't displace
any other settlement in the area.
The Pretoria High Court dismissed their application in
November 2005 but gave them permission to appeal the
decision. In January 2006 the group decided to do just
that, and the case will soon apply for a date to be heard at
the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In September 2005, a statue of the Venda King was unveiled, while a statue of Louis Trichardt was removed and
stored in a tool shed. The statue of Makhado was painted
the colours of the old South African ag (orange, white
and blue) only six days later, apparently by those opposing the name change. A suspect was later arrested, but
released without charge. As of December 2006 nobody
had been arrested in connection with the vandalism. The
statue of king Makhado was cleaned while the statue of
Louis Trichardt was later moved to a public library.
Just ve months after the newly placed statue was vandalised, in February 2006, the old South African ag was
found painted on the entrance to the Civic Centre. Road
signs, street names and bridge walls had also been targeted. No arrests have been made in connection with the

5.3 Name change reversed

On Thursday, 29 March 2007, the Supreme Court Appeal

(SCA) ruled in favour of an appeal to reverse the name
The name changing of the name Louis Trichardt to change ordered in June 2003. The successful appeal was
Makhado has attracted a lot of criticism from various lodged by the local group, the Chairpersons Association.
groups in the region.[4] It has been described as tribal- The SA Geographical Names Council met in Louis
ism by those who feel the town should have received a Trichardt, Limpopo, on Thursday 4 February 2010, to
geographical name rather than what they perceive to be a hear presentations on renaming the town to Makhado,
political one.
again. The Louis Trichardt Chairpersons Association
One such group is the Hlanganani Concerned Group, a has again lodged objections to the name change.



group consisting of Tsonga, Pedi and Indian residents.

They consider Makhado an oppressor, who aggressively
expanded his territory in the area by violently subjugating surrounding communities until the arrival of the
Voortrekkers. The Soutpansberg Chamber of Com-

The Department of Arts and Culture announced the renaming of Louis Trichardt to Makhado in the SA Government Gazette on 14 October 2011,[5] a move that has
also met with signicant local opposition.[6] The matter
has not, as of the end of November 2011, been resolved.



Most of Louis Trichardts economy is boosted by farming

activities around the town. The towns economy might
experience a further boost if proposed mines open in the
area. There has, however, been a lot of resistance from
nature conservationists against mines opening in the area.
Other towns next to this town are Dzanani; Thohoyandou;
Musina; and Polokwane which is 105 km south of the

See also
Air Force Base Makhado
List of heritage sites in Limpopo
List of Castles and Fortications in South Africa


[1] Main Place Louis Trichardt. Census 2011.

[2] The Voorste Mense ('Pioneers) - Louis Tregardt. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
[3] Early inhabitants of the lowveld who left a trace in the
Kruger National Park. Department of Environmental
Aairs (South Africa). Retrieved 11 January 2010.
[4] Thousands say no to Makhado. Limpopo Mirror. 14
November 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
[5] http://greengazette.co.za/pages/
[6] http://www.zoutnet.co.za/details/14-11-2011/

External links
Louis Trichardt History


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