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Tembisa township
Tembisa township
Tembisa is located in Gauteng
 Tembisa shown within Gauteng
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Country South Africa
Province Gauteng
Municipality Ekurhuleni
Established 1957
 • Councillor (ANC)
 • Total 42.80 km2 (16.53 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 463,109
 • Density 11,000/km2 (28,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 98.9%
 • Coloured 0.2%
 • Indian/Asian 0.1%
 • White 0.1%
 • Other 0.7%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Northern Sotho 33.1%
 • Zulu 21.7%
 • Tsonga 13.3%
 • Xhosa 7.0%
 • Other 24.9%
Postal code (street) 1632
PO box 1628
Area code 011

Tembisa is a large township situated to the north of Kempton Park on the East Rand, Gauteng, South Africa. It was established in 1957 when black people were resettled from Alexandra and other areas in Edenvale, Kempton Park, Midrand and Germiston.


The name Tembisa comes from the Zulu word "thembisa" meaning "promise". It came about when black settlers of Johannesburg were being evicted. When the township was created it was a beacon of hope for those who were suddenly homeless. The township was originally named and called Thembisa but as more and more people from the northern parts of the then Transvaal came to settle there and worked in government offices they decided to change the spelling of the word as it did not make any sense in their languages.


The township was founded in 1957. After the Afrikaner-dominated National Party gained power in 1948 and began to implement apartheid, the pace of forced removals and the creation of townships outside legally designated white areas increased. The Johannesburg council established new townships for black people evicted from the city's freehold areas.

In 1956 townships were laid out for particular ethnic groups as part of the state's strategy to sift black people into groupings that would later form the building blocks of the so-called "independent homelands". It is the second largest township in Gauteng, following Soweto.


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