Giyani- Situated in – “The Valley of the Olifants” | iinfo TZANEEN

Giyani is a north-eastern town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and a former capital of the then Gazankulu district.
 
Coordinates: 23°18′36″S 30°42′23″E / 23.31000°S 30.70639°E / -23.31000; 30.70639Coordinates: 23°18′36″S 30°42′23″E / 23.31000°S 30.70639°E / -23.31000; 30.70639
 
Giyani was founded in 1903, and covers an area of 19, 5 km2, with an estimated population 0f 25,954 inhabitants for every 1, 3 sq. km.
 
This small town is situated at the intersection between the R578 and R81 routes.
 
It is located in the heart of Limpopo Bushveld, on the northern bank of the Klein (Little) Letaba River, approximately 470 km north east of Johannesburg by road, 104 km from Tzaneen and 105 km from the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger National Park.
 
Residential areas
 
Giyani is having 89 villages, 9 Tribal Authorities of Tsonga and 2 Tribal Authorities of Balobedu. The large part of the town's open land is not developed or settled. Giyani Section A, D1, D2, E, F and Kremetart are affluent residential areas in the town. There are new settlements closer to town but falling under Tribal Authorities such as Risinga view and Church view - Homu block 15.
 
Climate
 
Giyani is situated within the sub-tropical zone. It can be very hot in summer, reaching 38 °C in summer and 22 °C maximum during winter. Winters are mild during the day and cold during the nights. Rainfall season is between September and March, while the winter season is from April to August.
 
Demographics
 
Giyani is composed of the following areas (in alphabetical order): B9, Babangu, Bambeni, Basani, Bode, Bode, Dingamazi, Dzingidzingi, Dzumeri, Gandlanani, Gawula, Giyani, Town, (Sections: A, D1, Guwela D2, E, F), Gon'on'o, Guwela, Hlaneki, Hlomela, Homu, Jimu Nghalalume, Khakhala, Khaxani, Kheyi, Kremetart, Loloka, Mageva, Makhuva, Makoxa, Mapayeni, Maphata, Maswanganyi, Matsotsosela, Mavalani, Mavhuza, Mayephu, Mbatlo, Mbawula, Mbhedhle, Mghonghoma, Mhlava-Willem, Mninginisi, Mpepule, Muxiyani, Muyexe, Mzilela, N'wa-Dzekudzeku, N'wa-Mankena, N'wa-Marhanga,Ndengeza, Ndindani, Ndhambi, Ngove, Nkomo, Noblehoek, Nsavulani, Phalawubeni, Sikhunyani, Siyandhani, Thomo, Xamfana, Xawela, Xikhumba, Xikukwana, Ximange, Ximausa, Xitlakati, Xivulani
 
These areas represent around 200 villages, and predominated by a group of people who speak mainly Xitsonga, give or take the handful of white, mainly Afrikaans speaking people who tend to live around Kremetart, next to Mongope.
 
Education
 
The people of Giyani value education, however, there are independent schools in the town, Khanyisa Education Centre, Nkwangulatilo Education centre,
 
High Quality Education Centres and Muhluri Combine School.
 
For higher education, the youth of Giyani typically attend Bates College of Technology, the University of Limpopo, the University of Venda, the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Johannesburg, University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town as well as the North-West University in Potchefstroom and the Vaal University of Technology.
 
Historical background
 
Giyani was founded in 1903 but established in the 1960s as the administrative centre for the Tsonga people and is now the administrative capital of the Mopani District Municipality.
 
The 'Giyani Ward' at Elim Hospital was named after Giyani in 1969. Six years later in 1975, the Gazankulu Government named another newly built Ward at Elim Hospital 'Valdezia Ward' in honour of the first Swiss Mission Station in Valdezia, 10 km east of Waterval Township.
 
The Swiss missionaries did mission work amongst the Tsonga people in the Hlanganani district of the former Gazankulu homeland. Later, the Swiss mission expanded its mission work to a large Tsonga settlement at Masana in Bushbuckridge and at Shiluvana settlement near Tzaneen. The area was inhabited by the Risinga Community, led by their chief Hosi Homu Chabalala.
 
The Risingas originally came from the Elim district. Before moving to Giyani during the 1880s, they were subjects of Chief Hosi Njhakanjhaka and occupied the land where the village of Shirley is situated today. While still at Elim, Chabalala was an Induna to Hosi Njhakanhjaka. During the 1980’s the Risinga community moved to Giyani, along with the other Chabalala headman, Hosi Siyandhani Chabalala, in search of pastures for their livestock. They settled in the foothills of the Manombe Mountain, an environment similar to what they had left behind at Elim/Shirley.
 
Also left behind at Elim, was the other Chabalala headman, Nwa-Mhandzi Chabalala, who remained at Levubu river valley until the 1960s. He moved to Bungeni village and became a headman of Hosi Bungeni.  The only Chabalala headman still left in the Elim district today, is headman Nwa-Mhandzi Chabalala. He has a big village called eka-Nwamhandzi under Hosi Bungeni.
 
Languages
 
The residents of Giyani speak Xitsonga as their first language. Tsonga women perform the Xibelani dance while the men enjoy dancing the traditional Mpuluto and Makhwaya dances.
 
Cultural activities
 
Xibelani is an African skirt designed to make the wearer's hips look bigger so the shaking can be more apparent. The Tsonga people have their own distinct music when the Xibelani dance is performed. The Tsonga people also engage in a custom dance called Mchongolo. 
 
The staple diet in Giyani is maize porridge (vuswa), or ‘’pap’’ in Afrikaans and rice, often alternatively eaten with meat, chicken and vegetables (matsavu). 
 
Economy
 
Giyani's economy is predominately rural-based.
 
Historically, Giyani had no entry-point to the Kruger National Park even though Giyani shares a long border with Kruger National Park. The plan to open a new gate at Giyani has been approved. The gate which is known as Shangoni Gate will be opened at Muyexe Village, 30 km North-East of Giyani town.
 
This gate will bring much-needed development in the nearby villages of Muyexe, Mahonisi and Mtititi where unemployment is 80%. These villages have been historically poor, despite the fact that they are bordering one of the world best safari destinations.
 
There are plans to develop state of the art conference facilities, sporting facilities and agricultural projects around the villages of Muyexe. Some of the project are sponsored by the Department of Rural Development. The upgrading of road from gravel to tar road is also underway between the villages of Muyexe and the town of Giyani. The road from Shangoni gate to Shingwezi Rest Camp will be constructed at a later stage. The new gate will cut the distance from Giyani to Shingwezi by almost 80 km. The visitors who want to visit Shingwezi Rest Camp from Gauteng by car can also shorten their itinerary by using this new route
 
Cattle, maize, peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes and bananas form the backbone of farming. Giyani is a major retail and entertainment centre for the local population. Modern shopping centres, containing all the well-known chain stores, have vastly uplifted the local trade.
 
Tourism and attractions
 
Giyani's location in the warm African Bushveld makes it attractive for both local and international visitors.
 
The Giyani Golf course is home to zebra, giraffe, bushbuck and some other herbivores. Viewing of these animals has not yet been commercialized.
 
At the moment, there are a number of Bed and Breakfast and Guest House facilities for tourists. A few are: Riverside Guest House, Xisaka Bed and Breakfast, Tihosi guest house, Elridge Mountain Lodge, Rosanna guest house,Nwayitelo Lodge and Mopani Guest House.
 
Limpopo Lodge (formerly Giyani Hotel) is situated in the centre of town and managed by the Oasis Group. Man'ombe Nature Reserve is located 6 km east of Giyani.
 
Giyani also borders Kruger National Park on the Western side of the Northern Region.
 
Sport
 
Giyani Stadium is the home of National First Division club Dynamos Football Club. Giyani has been home to Giyani United and Giyani Classic.
 
On the athletics front the 100 meter sprint ace Peter "Manero" Ngobeni stayed in Giyani section A during the 1980s.

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