St Wendolins was situated about 14 km from Central Pinetown, on land owned by the Roman Catholic diocese of Mariannhill and individual African Plot Holders. The Wendolins Area was Settled by the Maphumulo and Mangangeni Ethnic Groups, before the Colonization by White people. The Mangengeni Community were Settled along the Umhlatuzana River in the Pinetown area. With the arrival of Missionaries, Chief Manzini asked the Missionaries to work with the Community, to teach them to Read and Write. In 1882 Father Franz Pfanner bought Zeekoegat, a Farm from the Natal Colonization Company and Marianhill Mission, was Built on this land. The Church also brought surrounding Farms including an Adjacent Farm known as Klaarwater. It was on part of this Farm that the Community of St. Wendolins was Established. African Church Members, were allowed to Buy or Lease Land, at St Wendolins fromm the Mission.
Between 1930 and 1950 the Land was divided into 140 Plots and Sold to Resident Catholic Members. By 1950, there were about 80 Freehold Title Stands, which became known as the St Wendolins Ridge. Other people who did not Buy stands Paid for the Right to remain on Mission, owned Land, this Area became known as Savannah Park. In 1950 the Apartheid Government warned the Church against Selling Land to Africans and as a result, Land Acquisition, by African people was stopped. In August 1957, St Wendolins Residents were astonished when plans for implementing the Group Areas Act, were announced in the Magisterial District, of Pinetown. Regardless of the extended Negotiation in 1964, the area West of the Umhlatuzana River was proclaimed as a Coloured group Area, with Klaarwater and St.Wendelin’s proclaimed, as an Area for Indian people. Land between the River and Pinetown, was declared White and proclaimed as such, in 1967. This included the Monastery, Hospital and Convent. They were proclaimed as Areas, belonging to Whites. Land on the West of the Mission was proclaimed a Coloured group Area. This Land became the Township of Marianridge, in 1976. Land on the East of St. Wendolins was proclaimed as belonging, to Indian people. While about 400 heaters were zoned for Industrial Development. Savannah Park also came under the threat of Removal in 1966, when the Group Areas Board zoned the General Area for non-Africans, Segregating various Areas for White, Coloured and Indian Group Areas on it, as well as an Industrial zone.
African people that fell under Proclaimed Areas, had to Leave. In June 1970, Marianhill, Zeekoegat, Klaarwater and St Wendolins were incorporated into the Pinetown Municipal Area. Towards the end of 1970, Forced Removals commenced with the removal of people living close Klaarwater Station the area zone for industrial development. Some were sent to KwaNdengezi while others went to St. Wendolins proper. In 1979, the Port Natal Administration Board(PNAB) issued all Tenants in St. Wendolins Ridge and Savannah to vacate their areas within a year. In response, people formed the St. Wendolins Welfare Committee, to confront the threat of Evictions. People also ignored the notices of issued by the PNAB.
On 8 January 1980, the PNAB began demolishing their Houses. More people were Forcibly Removed to KwaNdengezi and KwaDabeka Townships, in the former KwaZulu Homeland. Some of their Plots were sold to Indian people and this sparked Tension between the two Groups. Residents of St. Wendolins Ridge, successfully launched a Court Challenge against their Removals. This Victory was possible because people owned, Free Hold Titles, which would have forced the Government to Compensate them if they were moved. The Mission also attempted to have Marianhill de-zoned to Preserve the Established White, Black, Indian and Coloured Communities.
As a result of, Various Representations, in December 1981, the Group Areas Board stated that they would organise a hearing in 1982 to consider proclaiming the St. Wendolins Ridge Area and Rezoning it for African Residence. A meeting was held, on 18 June 1982 where Welfare Committee, Marianhill Housing Action Committee, the Natal Indian Congress, St. Wendolins Parish Council and the St. Wendolins Residents Association, made their Submissions Protest.
-29° 52' 16.555", 30° 49' 45.945"
‘St Wendolin's: 1945-1996’ from Ulwazi (sharing indigenous knowledge) [online], Available at www.ulwazi.org[Accessed: 15 March 2013]|
Forced Removals In South Africa – The Surplus People’s Reports, Natal, January 1983, pp.465-467,469-470,476.