Main Place


Quick Fact ......
  • 96,114

  • 29,593

  • 27%

  • 56,1%

  • 87,1%

  • 88,9%

Mthatha carries the same name as the river that flows through the town. The town itself was previously known as Umtata, and was the capital city of the bantustan Transkei, from 1976 to 1994. In March 2004 it was officially renamed to Mthatha. A number of explanations have been given for the meaning of the name: 'sneezewood river', after trees that grow on the river's banks; 'the seizer' or 'appropriator', after the many drowning's that have taken place in the river itself; 'river of the dead', from a custom of casting the dead into it; or 'nostril river', from the Xhosa word ithatha. (GPS coordinates: 31.5918 S, 28.7808 E).

Character(s) left.
  • Raper PE. 2004. New dictionary of South African Place Names. Jonathan Ball Publishers.

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Key Statistics 2011

Total population96,114
Young (0-14)25,5%
Working Age (15-64)71,9%
Elderly (65+)2,6%
Dependency ratio39,1
Sex ratio83,4
Population density1748 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+3%
Higher education aged 20+27%
Matric aged 20+30,4%
Number of households29,593
Average household size2,8
Female headed households55,8%
Formal dwellings89,7%
Housing owned/paying off31,6%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage88,9%
Weekly refuse removal83,1%
Piped water inside dwelling56,1%
Electricity for lighting87,1%

Place names

King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality