When the railway was built up the coastal belt of Zululand to Golela on the Swazi border, a siding was laid out at a place named Mtubatuba.

The name comes from the chief of the local section of the Zulu nation. He was given the name, which means 'he who was pummelled out', on account of the difficulty the midwives experienced at his birth.

Large-scale planting of sugar cane in the area, and the construction in 1916 of a crushing mill at River View, close to the siding, stimulated development and Mtubatuba became a village.

Mtubatuba has developed from a humble railway siding into a strong sub-regional commercial, service, transport & administrative centre for the entire North Eastern Zululand region. In the past number of years there has been substantial commercial growth in Mtubatuba with retail and wholesale outlets opening.

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