Zwelethemba is an isiXhosa word, meaning Nation of Hope. It was first named ‘eMtshokotshweni’ (referring to the concrete slabs used in building houses) and as the settlement expanded, it was then called ‘Khwezi’ (Morning Star), before it finally became Zwelethemba in the 1950’s.
The origin of the township was a direct result of South Africa’s Slums Clearance Act of 1934, which allowed municipalities to demolish any area considered a slum. Worcester’s previous ‘township’ was called Sakkiesdorp and was de-proclaimed under this Act in 1950, due to overcrowding. Similar to District 6 in Cape Town, residents (African people) were then moved 5km away from town. Like a stepchild, Zwelethemba was born!