Facts about Vuwani and its surrounding communities

Lennox Ralebona

Vuwani is a small town situated in the north-eastern part of the Vhembe district, with a population of approximately 10000. The area falls under the Makhado Local Municipality with headquarters in Louis Trichardt, another small town situated between the Soutpansberg mountains.

The anti-Malamulele protests started there in 2015 after the announcement of the proposal to incorporate the area into a new municipal entity. Following the visit to the area by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on 13 September 2015, Vuwani is a small town situated in the north-eastern part of the Vhembe district, with the population the first round of protests came to an end. During that time, few shops were damaged and the so-called traitors houses were gutted by fire.

The unfortunate event happened earlier this year when the new municipality became a reality to even more communities that were not initially tipped, the move that stretched the problem even further. Unfortunately the whole area is still referred to as Vuwani when in actual fact it is eight communities involved on the mess.

  1. Masia – Chief Mbangseni Masia; the village of Vyeboom which is the most volatile
  2. Tshikonelo – Chief Alfred Tshikonelo; closer to Vuwani previously under Thulamela municipality
  3. Mulenzhe – Chief Jeffrey Ramovha; closer to Thohoyandou town previously under Thulamela municipality
  4. Mashau – Chief Thavhayamipfa Mashau; closer to Louis Trichardt previously under Makhado municipality
  5. Davhana – Chief David Davhana; closer to Malamulele previously under Makhado municipality
  6. Tshimbupfe – Acting Chief Netshimbupfe; closer to Malamulele and previously under Makhado
  7. Sinthumule -Chief Sinthumule; a small village between Masia and Mashau
  8. Masakona – Chief Masakona Rasikhuthuma; closer to Louis Trichardt and roped into the new municipality without consultation.

The distance between Vuwani and Malamule is 35 kilometres and the two have a lot in common. They are rural, both speaks Tshivenda and Xitsonga languages with families that are inter-ethnic. It is common in this area to find a Tsonga man married to a Venda woman vice-versa.

As the area is currently under Thulamela and Makhado municiapalities, a lot is going to change after Wednesday elections. The new proposed municipality consist of 36 wards of which all eight have problematic communities. They will have only have 10 wards and 26 under the Tsonga dominated community of Malamulele.

The offices of the new municipalities are set to be in the Malamulele town.



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