W hite Ridge is the definition of Witbank as it describes the sandstone that wagon drivers used to rest on when traveling through the area. After some time, it was discovered that these are visible signs of coal and it began a wonderful saga of struggle, adversity, hard work, and triumph.
Today, Witbank is a hub of successful businesses, schools, restaurants, hotels, collieries, and leisure activities that make it possible for residents to be happy and busy. The primary economic activity of the region is the coal mining industry, which in turn has given rise to Witbank as an industrial site with steel mills, a power station and heavy industry business. Around this core is all the supporting businesses that keeps a community alive and growing: these businesses, however, often sell goods manufactured in other countries. This includes USA imports, imports from the UK, and, due to the growing relationship between China and African countries, imports from the East. Typically, imports in South Africa are mainly manufactured goods and electronic consumables like the various brands of laptops for sale, TVs, Hi-Fis, and etc.
Thus, the residents have a great mix of coffee shops, retail outlets, printers, outsourcing businesses, water sports, wildlife adventures, bird watching, golfing, hiking, art galleries, schools, churches, and a lot more.
The Witbank Dam
This is the oldest dam in the southern hemisphere but it’s particularly special to the residents of Witbank because it offers them a breathtaking respite from their work. Here they can indulge in their favorite water sport or past time like wind surfing, water skiing, boating, fishing, parasailing, skydiving, and 4 x 4 trails. There is a local Witbank Skydiving Club that has been in existence since 1980 whose main objective is to enjoy the thrills of skydiving.
The Community Theater and Civic Theater
A great thing about Witbank is that you don’t have to rely on your Blu-ray player for your regular dose of cultural fare. The Witbank Civic Theater is a theater funded by the local government that has consistently and professionally showed excellent theater events, focusing mainly on local talent. It is an effort to bring the arts to the people of Witbank in a way that is meaningful to them.
Other theater groups are the Khanya Community Theatre and the Sabela Community Theatre. The Khanya theater group has a special affinity to AIDS education through theater shows. They regularly present work and join festivals as part of the entertainment. The Sabela Community Theatre is another outreach program effort that combines the efforts of the Witbank Civic Theater and students from Empucukwani Secondary School. It is youth-oriented and tries to help the youth stay grounded.
The Witbank Youth Theatre is another program under the Witbank Civic Theatre. It hopes to hone the talent of the youth in arts. It began in 1997 and has been most active in presenting stage shows from Shakespeare to contemporary shows. They have workshops in dance, acting, and production management.
Witbank has its own Ndebele Village in Nooitgedacht Road. This tribal village has art displays for sell and see up close the way of life of the Ndebele people. It’s a common destination for the youth of Witbank to go on their annual field trips because it provides them with hands-on, real life experience seeing and understanding African art and culture.
Popular Events and People
Like some places in South Africa, Witbank has its very own international exports: these are outstanding people who have gone to the international spotlight and shone brightly. They have brought honor to Witbank through their efforts, hard work, and from the support of Witbank residents. One such person is the 1974 Miss World, Anneline Kriel who won at age 19. The Witbank Black Aces is a football team that plays in the Premier Soccer League and does incredibly well. They were originally a group of dairy workers who loved soccer and decided to create a soccer team. This was in 1937. Witbank also has an impressive rugby team, Pumas and they have also brought glory to Witbank.
Other places of interest are the Duvha Power Station, the Ridge Casino, the Catholic Church in Allenby Street which was the first building constructed in the new part of the town in 1921, and the Witbank Club.