Dutch Reformed Church, Lydenburg
Dutch Reformed Church, Lydenburg
Lydenburg is located in Mpumalanga
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Lydenburg is located in South Africa
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Coordinates: 25°05′46″S 30°26′46″E / 25.096°S 30.446°E / -25.096; 30.446Coordinates: 25°05′46″S 30°26′46″E / 25.096°S 30.446°E / -25.096; 30.446
Country South Africa
Province Mpumalanga
District Ehlanzeni
Municipality Thaba Chweu
 • Total 17.31 km2 (6.68 sq mi)
 (2011) [1]
 • Total 37,258
 • Density 2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African 75.3%
 • Coloured 1.4%
 • Indian/Asian 0.5%
 • White 22.5%
 • Other 0.3%
First languages (2011)
 • Northern Sotho 26.2%
 • Afrikaans 22.8%
 • Swazi 18.7%
 • Zulu 13.1%
 • Other 19.2%
Time zone UTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Area code 013

Lydenburg is a town in Thaba Chweu Local Municipality, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Alternatively known as Mashishing, Lydenburg is situated on the Sterkspruit/Dorps River tributary of the Lepelle River at the base of the Long Tom Pass. The name is derived from the Dutch Lijdenburg, or "Town of Suffering".[2] Lydenburg has become the centre of the South African fly-fishing industry and is an agricultural and mining hub.


The earliest known forms of African sculpture in southern Africa dating back to AD 400 were found in the area in the late 1950s. Lydenburg was founded in 1849 by a group of Voortrekkers under the leadership of Andries Potgieter when they abandoned their previous settlement Ohrigstad (to the north) due to a malaria epidemic. The town became the capital of the Lydenburg Republic ('De Republiek Lydenburg in Zuid Afrika') in 1856 and later in 1857 joined the Republic of Utrecht but in 1860 both these republics joined the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR).The town became the capital of the Lydenburg District of the South African Republic (ZAR).

Lydenburg became important because it was on the wagon route to the port of Delagoa Bay (now Maputo Bay) which was free of British control. In 1871 construction of the road was started by Abraham Espag under the orders of President Thomas François Burgers. The first wagons arrived in Lydenburg from Delagoa Bay in 1874.

On 6 February 1873 alluvial gold was discovered and within 3 months the Lydenburg goldfields was proclaimed. The First Boer War broke out between Britain and the Transvaal Republic in 1880. A British garrison under Lieutenant Walter Hillyar Colquhoun Long (uncle of the 1st Viscount Long) took control of Lydenburg to control the goldfields. It was from here that the ill-fated 94th Regiment under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Robert Anstruther marched to Pretoria. The remainder of the garrison at Lydenburg was besieged from 6 January 1881,[3] following Long's refusal to surrender the garrison on 23 December 1880.[4]

By 1910 the railway reached Lydenburg. In 1927 Lydenburg became a municipality.

A side street in Lydenburg

Name change

In June 2006 it was announced that Arts and Culture minister, Pallo Jordan, approved the name change of Lydenburg to Mashishing (meaning "long, green grass").[5] However residents took the decision to court who ruled it illegal and ordered the name to be changed back to Lydenburg. However one of the rural areas outside Lydenburg is called Mashishing. Road signs still say Lydenburg and businesses and local building such as the "Lydenburg Museum" have still kept the old name. However some road signs say Mashishing when a person is actually entering the more developed, richer, Lydenburg area.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Sub Place Lydenburg". Census 2011.
  2. ^ South Africa
  3. ^ M. Gough Palmer. "The Besieged Towns of the First Boer War, 1880-1881". Retrieved 15 December 2013. The Boers took up a position two miles off on the road to Middelburg on 3 January 1881 and commenced their attack on the 6th.
  4. ^ M. Gough Palmer. "The Besieged Towns of the First Boer War, 1880-1881". Retrieved 15 December 2013. On 23 December Long was visited by Dietrich Muller who said he had been deputed by the Boer Government to demand the immediate surrender of the garrison which was refused by Long.
  5. ^