Dimbaza gets a new lease
By Nangamso Mabindla
7 October 2004
The Buffalo City town of Dimbaza has been buffeted by the vagaries of political and economic change.
Once a thriving factory town in the former Ciskei, which saw up to 20 000 people employed, now only two of 94 factories are still functioning.
And, like many towns in Buffalo City, Dimbaza is located in the centre of a large rural district, where most of the population is unemployed.
But, things are happening in Dimbaza.
In 2000 the Buffalo City municipality built more than 1 000 houses, all supplied with electricity, in Dimbaza South.
In 2001 the first community hall was built, from a donation by GTZ - a German international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations.
Caretaker at the hall, Stanley Mbalula, says the ongoing developments are due to various partnerships between the Dimbaza Development Forum, Buffalo City and GTZ.
"We're happy to have worked with our partners for the benefit of the Dimbaza community. Because of these partnerships we've had another 16 projects completed," Mbalula says.
Some 45 percent of the town's roads are paved. "We no longer have problems when it rains because most of our busy roads have been paved," he adds.
In 2002 the local community built the Moses Twebe Community Hall, named after an anti-apartheid activist, in Dimbaza Central at a cost of R500 000.
A local civic centre, also costing R500 000, was erected for residents to interact with the municipality. "Before the centre was built, people used to travel long distances to King Williams' Town to pay for their services," says Ward 8 councillor, Andile Ntoni.
To encourage sport among the unemployed youth, a R27 000 gymnasium was also built.
The Swedish Development Agency assisted the community in installing water taps in Dimbaza East (Pirie Trust). Before the project, the 1 000 residents in Pirie shared three communal taps.
"Now we're looking at installing flushing toilets for use by the Pirie community," says Ntoni. "Dimbaza has really come a long way."
And while Dimbaza's community is looking to the future, it has not forgotten its past. A monument of graves - the last graves - of those who died fighting apartheid was built to create awareness of the role played by the Dimbaza community it the battle against the former regime.