Sketch Map of the Indwe Coal Fields, 1883

This map shows the Indwe Coal fields in the Eastern Cape, the only coalfields in the Cape Colony, and dates back to 1883, when they were trying to find coal or energy in the Cape. Not many people know about them today. It was lignite that they found there – a low-grade form of coal. The Cape Colony expanded its railway network to be able to transport the coal, and a town developed as housing for the coal miners. It was named Indwe after the river. Indwe is the isiXhosa word for the Blue Crane, South Africa’s national bird. Owing to the discovery of better coal elsewhere, the mining was halted and today Indwe is a commercial farming centre, including stock and agriculture.