Pearston is a small town 50 km north-west of Somerset East and 75 km’s south-east of GraaffReinet. It was laid out in 1859 on the farm Rustenburg, administered by a village management board from 1861 and became a municipality in April 1894. Named after John Pears, Dutch Reformed minister at Somerset East and first relieving minister of Pearston. The town is situated on the R63.

The Blyde River rising on the Groot Bruintjieshoogte north-east of Pearston and joining the Voël River, a tributary of the Sundays River, 13 km south of Pearston. Of Dutch origin, the name means ‘happy river’. The reason for the name is unknown. The Afrikaans form Blyderivier is preferred for official use.

Pearston falls under the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality which is a Category B municipality situated within the Sarah Baartman District in the Eastern Cape Province. It is bordered by the Chris Hani District in the north, Sundays River Valley in the south, Amathole District and Makana in the east, and Dr Beyers Naudé in the west. It is the second-largest municipality of seven in the district, accounting for 19% of the geographical area, and is an an administrative area. The municipality is named after the South African national bird, the blue crane.

Cities/Towns close to Pearston are Cookhouse, Petersburg and Somerset East.

Key Statistics 2011

Total population 3,435
Young (0-14) 36,9%
Working Age (15-64) 55,6%
Elderly (65+) 7,5%
Dependency ratio 79,8
Sex ratio 91,6
Population density 107 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 16,9%
Higher education aged 20+ 3,5%
Matric aged 20+ 19,4%
Number of households 864
Average household size 3,8
Female headed households 50%
Formal dwellings 99,1%
Housing owned/paying off 61,9%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 86,9%
Weekly refuse removal 96,3%
Piped water inside dwelling 59,7%
Electricity for lighting 87,4%


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