KwaZulu-Natal often referred to as "KZN", is a province of South Africa. Prior to 1994 the territory now known as KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the province of Natal and all pieces of territory that made up the homeland of KwaZulu.
In the 1830s the northern part was the kingdom of Zululand and southern part was briefly a Boer republic called Natalia. In the 1840s the latter became the British Colony of Natal, though Zululand remained independent until 1879.
Vasco da Gama of Portugal saw the coast of Natal on Christmas Day 1497. Christmas in Portuguese is 'Natal', which gave rise to the original name for the region. Its territory was once part of a short-lived Boer republic between 1839 and its annexation by Britain in 1843.
When the homeland of KwaZulu, which means "Place of the Zulu" was re-incorporated into the Natal province after the end of Apartheid in 1994, the province of Natal which had existed between 1910 and 1994 was renamed KwaZulu-Natal. The province is home to the Zulu monarchy, and the majority population and language of the province is Zulu. It is also the only province in South Africa which includes the name of its dominant ethnic group in its name.
The supporters, the lion and the wildebeest, are symbols of the regions that were joined to create KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu and Natal Province respectively. The zig-zag stripe is representative of the Drakensberg mountains. The star represents the coastline being given the name "Natalia" by Vasco da Gama on Christmas day, 1497, as well as the Zulu myth that the Zulu people are "people of heaven" or "star people". The strelitzia flower on the shield is a symbol of the province's beauty. The assegai and knobkierrie behind the shield represent peace and protection. The crown base is a headring worn by Zulu elders, representing wisdom and maturity. The crown itself is a round grass hut built in the Zulu style. The motto is "Masisukume Sakhe", isiZulu for "Let Us Stand Up and Build".
Durban is a rapidly growing urban area and is by most measures the busiest port in Africa with a good rail network linking into Southern Africa. Sugar refining is the main industry. Sheep, cattle, dairy, citrus fruits, corn, sorghum, cotton, bananas, and pineapples are also raised. There is an embryonic KwaZulu-Natal wine industry. There are large aluminum-smelting plants at Richards Bay, on the north coast. The province produces considerable amounts of coal (especially coke) and timber. About 82% of the population is black.
KwaZulu-Natal, as the name may suggest, is also the home to the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. Although not holding any direct political power, the Zulu king is provided a stipend by the government, and holds considerable sway over more traditionalist Zulu people in the province.
KwaZulu Natal is divided into 11 districts. One of these, eThekwini is a metropolitan municipality and the other 10 are district municiplalities.