OUR ZULU HERITAGE
The name 'Amanzimtoti' was derived from the Zulu phrase 'Kanti Amanzi Mtoti' : 'The water is sweet'. Shaka, the great Zulu warrior Chief named it so when, at the end of a long day's trek down the coast, he found the sweet water of the river where he settled to camp for the night.
Tribal origins in the Amanzimtoti region date back to 200AD. Iron age farmers grew staple crops as well as legumes and squashes. By 900AD they lived in large settlements consisting of houses built in a circle around the central kraal and had domesticated cows, sheep, goats, dogs and fowls. Large shell heaps indicate that they supplemented their diet with shellfish. The changes in the remains of the tribes point to influences from many other tribes that traveled over or settled down on this magnificent coast line.
Pottery remains dating back to 1000AD show a vastly different design, which indicate the change of languages in the late Iron Age people. Changes in lifestyle patterns such as smaller settlements and a move up to hilltops, are indications of a change in spiritual beliefs.
Today, visitors can still explore the Zulu traditions such as beadwork, weaving, pottery, traditional sorghum beer and dancing in the many cultural sites on the South Coast and throughout KwaZulu Natal. Art galleries and museums showcase historical artifacts as well as the work of modern artists.
By the year 1450 the Portuguese landed here and their influence is visible in the dietary changes that occurred when they introduced the farmers to maize which is still the primary staple crop of the Zulu nation today.
Amanzimtoti's history as a prime holiday destination dates back to a recorded visit in the pioneering days of 1902 when a few buildings and tents accommodated seaside visitors. A historical perspective of the last 100 years weaves a fascinating tale of sugar farmers and the railway south that paved the way to the exploration and development of the KwaZulu Natal South Coast. Stories of shipwrecks, floods, war and survival speak of the rich personal histories that formed a community with strong cultural roots.
EAST MEETS WEST
Indentured Indian Labourers were brought into Natal to work on the sugar farms from 1860 until 1911 when the system was abolished. Many stayed and brought their families to settle in the area. The influence of the Indian culture has woven rich threads of colour, sounds, smells and tastes through the KZN lifestyle and has enriched our society with a myriad of celebrations, cuisines and art forms.
Today, the Indian community of KwaZulu Natal is the largest settlement outside India. The largest Indian congregation on the South Coast is in the suburb of Isipingo, a hive of activity and trade with a strong culture of community integration.
The original settlements of Doonside, Warner Beach and Winklespruit are now the suburbs of Amanzimtoti, itself a suburb of the eThekwini Council of Durban. The resort town boasts beautiful beaches and many of the all year round activities centred around water sports.
There are several sport clubs for anglers, surfers, swimmers and divers. Others prefer to play their sport on solid ground, inside the gym, on the local golf course or with the other runners on the roads. The Umbogintwini and Amanzimtoti Country clubs, together with Hutchinson Park offer a wide range of sporting facilities.
Social games abound. The many restaurants, clubs and pubs entertain the locals and tourists with equal abandon. Those who prefer a little city life every now and then take the short 20 minute drive to the bright lights, nightclubs and casinos in Durban.
There are several schools, some of which date back to the turn of the century. Today, many of the entrepreneurs that make up the colourful business community are from the Amanzimtoti alumni.