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What You Need To Know

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is located approximately 110 km east of the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers. The city has considerable historical significance due to its diamond mining past and the siege during the Second Boer War. Notable personalities such as Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes here, and the roots of the De Beers company can also be traced to the early days of the mining town. Kimberley was the first city in the Southern Hemisphere and the second in the world after Philadelphia to integrate electric street lights into its infrastructure on Sept. 2, 1882. The first Stock Exchange in Africa was also built in Kimberley, as early as 1881.

Area: 164.3 km²

Population:Estimate 241,208

Currency

  • The Rand is the official currency of Kimberely and South Africa.

 Art, music, film and literature

Notable artists from Kimberley include William Timlin and Walter Westbrook, while an artist noted for his depiction of Kimberley was Philip Bawcombe. Writers from the city or with strong Kimberley links include Diane Awerbuck, Benjamin Bennett, Lawrence Green, Dorian Haarhoff, Dan Jacobson, E P Lekhela, Z.K. Matthews, Sarah Gertrude Millin, Sol Plaatje, Frank Templeton Prince, Olive Schreiner, A.H.M. Scholtz. A notable reggae and rhythm and blues musician from Kimberley is Dr Victor.

Language

 English is the official language. There are eleven official languages of  South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

Health

The wealthiest 20% of the population use the private system and are far better served. In 2005, South Africaspent 8.7% of GDP on health care, or US$437 per capita. Of that, approximately 42% was government expenditure. About 79% of doctors work in the private sector.

Religion

Kimberley, from its earliest days, attracted people of diverse faiths which are still reflected by practising faith communities in the city. Pre-eminently these are various denominations of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, as well as other faiths. Traditional African beliefs continue as an element in the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC). Kimberley is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman and also of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kimberley – previously the Apostolic Vicariate of Kimberley in Orange. Other denominations having churches in the city are the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Congregational Church, the Dutch Reformed Church(Afrikaans: Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk), the Baptist Church, the Afrikaans Baptist Church (Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Baptiste Kerk), the Apostolics, Pentecostalists. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Africa was first established in Kimberley.

Tourism

The city projects itself as a significant tourist destination, the ‘City that Sparkles’, boasting a diversity of museums and visitor attractions. It is also a gateway to other Northern Cape destinations including the Mokala National Park, nature reserves and numerous game farms or hunting lodges, as well as historic sites of the region.

The Big Hole and other mines

As miners arrived in their thousands the hill disappeared and subsequently became known as the Big Hole (or Kimberley se Gatin Afrikaans) or, more formally, Kimberley Mine. From mid-July 1871 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamonds. The Big Hole has a surface of 17 hectares (42 acres) and is 463 metres wide. It was excavated to a depth of 240 m, but then partially infilled with debris reducing its depth to about 215 m; since then it has accumulated water to a depth of 40 m leaving 175 m visible. Beneath the surface, the Kimberley Mine underneath the Big Hole was mined to a depth of 1097 metres. A popular local myth claims that it is the largest hand-dug hole on the world, however Jagersfontein Mine appears to hold that record. The Big Hole is the principal feature of a May 2004 submission which placed “Kimberley Mines and associated early industries” on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative Lists. By 1873 Kimberley was the second largest town in South Africa, having an approximate population of 40,000.