Imbali Township History

An old man from Slangspruit watched in amazement as Imbali Township develops; and was heard saying that “hawu, sebeyakha manje abantu laphaya ezimbalini!” Loosely translated to “people are now building houses amongst those flowers” “Imbali” is the IsiZulu word for “Flower”. 


Imbali Township was established in 1958 and built in the mid-1960s to settle the city workers and employment seekers away from the city of Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Kwazulu Natal. In 1964 the Department of Bantu Affairs in partnership with Pietermaritzburg Co-operation took over the control of the area.  Blacks that were affected by the group areas act were the first residents of what came to be known as Imbali Bantu Township. In 1965, it was still without services. According to the city engineer’s correspondence letter relating to the planned detention facility to be built adjacent to the Imbali Bantu Township; the services were still planned to be introduced in the next 5-10 years. “No services are at present available. The adjacent area of Imbali Township will be the last area to be developed, and this may only be in about 5 to 10 years’ time, when the necessary services will become available”

It is Pietermaritzburg’s biggest and one of the oldest townships and is located 15km west of the city. It comprises Slangspruit; France; Azalea; Unit 1; Unit 2; Unit 3; Unit AA; Unit BB; Unit CC; Unit EE; Unit J; Unit 13; Unit 14; Unit 15 and Unit 18. Imbali Unit 1 was the first section to be developed. The FJ Sithole road is the main road that enables the citizens and the tourists to get the gist of Imbali Township as it connects main streets and navigates through the remarkable landmarks. The streets are predominantly named after wildlife.

The township is blessed with the abundance of primary schools, high schools and one tertiary college; clinics and police stations. The community can look forward to the state of the art library to be unveiled in the near future that will be well-looked after by the Imbali Township community.

It is part of Msunduzi local municipality that forms part of UMgungundlovu District Municipality. The main modes of transport for people are the minibus Taxis and sedans. Enthusiastic shoppers can indulge in a variety of shopping experiences from the mall and shopping centres that are located in Imbali Unit 3 as well the traditional Spaza shops that are widespread across the townships.

The Manaye Hall in Imbali is a monumental landmark as a venue for the All-In-Africa Conference that was organised on the 25 th of March 1961. It is in the Manaye Hall where Madiba addressed the gathering and made a call for the philosophy of “One Man, One Vote” which is now enjoyed by many generations. Madiba also gave life to the mantra “Amandla” which loosely translates to “Power To The People”. 

As the township blossoms, Imbali citizens will flourish by taking ownership of their aspirations! Imbali Township will recreate its history and will hold annual awards called Qhakaza Awards to celebrate and honour the impeccable achievements and excellence from its ordinary citizens for generations to come.