Umlazi is a township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, located south-west of Durban. It is the fourth largest township in South Africa, after Soweto, Tembisa and Katlehong. Umlazi is the only township in the country that has its own registration plate, which is NUZ. It is divided into 26 sections, A through to Z, with the exception of I, O and X, but with an addition of AA, BB and CC.
We are focused on supporting existing institutions and organisations that are in the are, so we have partnered with World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in supporting projects in the area.
According to legend, the name Umlazi comes from “umlaza”, the Zulu word for the sour acid produced from fermented or sour milk. It is believed that when King Shaka was passing through the area, he refused to drink from a local river claiming it had the taste of “umlaza”. The area was called Umlazi after this incident.
Umlazi, like many townships in the urban areas of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Johannesburg, is witnessing increased private and government investments, as seen in the construction of new shopping complexes, primary and secondary schools, universities of technology and libraries.
The new educational infrastructure is particularly important, as an affordable, easily accessible quality secondary education is valuable for many children in Umlazi, particularly with regards to their search for employment following school. Most young residents do not attend tertiary institutions due to their family’s limited financial resources.
Mangosuthu Highway is the most popular road in Umlazi and it links the residents to the many sections. There are now three shopping malls in Umlazi, the Mega-Philani Shopping Centre, Kwa-Mnyandu Shopping Centre and Umlazi Mega City Mall which is located just off the freeway that exits to Umlazi. The recently built KwaMnyandu Shopping Centre opened its doors on the 5th of June 2014.
Almost all sections in Umlazi have a clinic and a police station. The King Zwelithini Stadium, which is located on the Mangosuthu Highway (Griffiths Mxenge Highway), has been revamped for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The township has two FET Colleges, Umlazi Coastal College V and BB Campuses, which are the equivalent of American Community Colleges, and a university, Mangosuthu University of Technology There are schools that produce 100% Matric (Grade 12) pass rate, including Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School Umlazi Comprehensive Technical High School (ComTech), Menzi High School, Velabahleke High School and Zwelibanzi High School. About 30% of homes in Umlazi are informal settlements (tin and wooden shacks). Most of these informal settlements have been demolished and replaced with brand new homes and roads that are part of the Residential Development Project (RDP).