The town of Mtubatuba is named after the Zulu chief Nkosi Mtubatuba of the Mkhwanazi clan. Chief Mtubatuba was one of the longest serving chiefs in the Zulu nation.

He drove around town on a wagon driven by donkeys for many years, until finally purchasing a motor car (Pontiac) in 1939.

The old chief was very wealthy, owning many thousands of cattle. He had an extraordinary memory and could personally recognise every one of his cattle.

Every so often the chief would call on his closest followers to assist him in counting his monies. Hundreds of cases, boxes, bags and coffee tins filled with ten and twenty pound notes would be brought out, emptied and counted. Counting would continue all day. However by the evening most of the counters had lost count, and so all the money would be packed away again until the chief wished it to be counted another day.

The old chief passed away in 1955 at the age of 100. He was buried at his kraal (Nomatia) after an elaborate ceremony. In 1956 a meeting was held to elect his successor from two nominees, a fight broke amongst the 2000 tribesman present at the meeting, and the police were called. The police eventually quelled the fighting but the matter of succession was never resolved.

The town of Mtubatuba is established at the site which the Mkhwanazi clan once inhabited. The town was established at the site of an old railway halt of the same name. The original town consisted 102 residential and commercial plots as well as two plots set aside as 'public places'.


A Picture of Chief Mtubatuba


Information published here is sourced from the book 'Memories of Early Matubatuba and District' (c) 1989, with permission of Mr E.R.Harrison