Uitenhage is a town 35 km north-west of Port Elizabeth. It was founded on the loan-farm belonging to Elizabeth Scheepers on the Swartkops River and became a municipality in 1841. The name is derived from that of the district formed in 1804 and named by the Governor, J W Janssens, in honour of J A Uitenhage de Mist (1749-1823), Commissioner-General from 1803 to 1804.

In 1827 the State Secretary, Bourke, defined the Eastern Province as consisting of the districts of Graaff-Reinet (including Beaufort and the Winterveld), Albany, George, Somerset and Uitenhage. In 1852 Governor George Cathcart determined that it would consist of Albany, Albert, Colesberg, Cradock, Fort Beaufort, Graaff-Reinet, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Somerset and Victoria.

In July 1886, the Cape Parliament passed legislation to protect elephant and buffalo in the districts of Uitenhage and Albany and hunting was limited to specific periods. Sadly, at this time the animal disease known as the rinderpest swept through the districts of Albany and Uitenhage. This decimated the animal populations but those in the Addo Bush managed to survive the disease.

Growth in agriculture in the region led to conflict with elephants as they damaged crops and competed with farmers’ needs for water. Local farmers put pressure on the government to exterminate elephants. In 1916, people, including the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage Farmers’ Associations, called on the government to exterminate the elephants.

Key Statistics 2011

Total population 103,639
Young (0-14) 26,6%
Working Age (15-64) 67,5%
Elderly (65+) 5,9%
Dependency ratio 48
Sex ratio 94,3
Population density 1376 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 3,7%
Higher education aged 20+ 10,7%
Matric aged 20+ 30,3%
Number of households 26,667
Average household size 3,8
Female headed households 33,9%
Formal dwellings 86%
Housing owned/paying off 62,9%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 91,4%
Weekly refuse removal 84,2%
Piped water inside dwelling 78,5%
Electricity for lighting 92,4%