KwaZulu Natal DestinationsStanger, Dolphin Coast
KwaDukuza-Stanger lies inland from Blythedale in the midst of sugarcane fields, its streets lined with Jacarandas, home to King Shaka’s memorial monument and part, not only of the Zulu Heritage Route, but the proposed Sugar Route as well.
KwaDukuza-Stanger’s beginnings were as a new capital for Shaka’s Zulu nation during what were to become the last years of his life. KwaDukuza - ironically meaning place of the lost person - was named after the intricate labyrinth layout of huts, and it was in one of the kraals that Shaka was assassinated by two of his half-brothers - Dingane, who was to succeed him, and Mhlangane. His body was buried upright in a grain pit - a hasty burial the day after his assassination - over which stands a simple stone memorial erected in his honour.
Shaka’s successor was to abandon kwDukuza allowing it to run to wrack and ruin, and it was only in 1873 that a European town was built on the site, named after William Stanger, the surveyor-general of Natal. Today KwaDukuza-Stanger serves as the commercial, magisterial and communication centre for the large sugar-producing district.
Today KwaDukuza-Stanger is one of many of the towns in this area to claim an authentic eastern influence, brought here by the first Indian immigrants who came to work on the sugar cane fields. Markets, mosques and temples of their descendents now add a vibrant flavour the towns on the Dolphin Coast.
The weather here is typically tropical and humidity high, hence the sugarcane; and bottlenose dolphins use the sea as their playground throughout the year. The Indian market in town is worth a visit and the Sappi Paper Mill, which makes KwaDukuza-Stanger its home, offers daily tours.