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Upington is a town founded in 1884 on the banks of the Orange River. The town was named after Sir Thomas Upington, Attorney-General of the Cape. It originated as a mission station established in 1875 and run by Reverend Schröder.
'Although situated along the banks of one of our great rivers, Upington is very hot and feels dry during the summer heat that can rise to the mid-forties centigrade.' It seems that the people often reflect these inhospitable climatic conditions in their lives - drunkenness, family violence and abuse of children. Yet Upington has great winelands, stunning scenery and so many talented people. Their raisin festival is an annual highlight and well-attended - hospitality is generously offered.'
Upington is an area of strange contrasts - on your way to Upington and around it, you will find many miles of nothing but wild uninhabited veld. you will still see such sights as a donkey cart that is still in use and the only transport of the owner and you will find a shepherd, on foot, looking after his flock, but Upington is also a vibrant town with much industry (based around agriculture and wine making), 15 churches and a busy centre with many shops.
It is the closest large centre to the Augrabies Falls, arguably the greatest of South African waterfalls. The landscape is very arid but the soil is fertile and crops such as fruit are grown in irrigated fields. The area is best known for its export-quality grapes, raisins and wines, which are cultivated on the rich flood plains of the Orange river.
The Khara Hais municipality, which encompasses Upington and neighbouring settlements, has a population of 101,504, according to the 2008 figures. Of these, 64.4% were Coloured, 19.8% African, 15.7% White and 0.1% Asian. The city has a small Somali trading community.
Upington's most famous wines are produced by an organization generally know as Orange River Wine Cellars (OWC). The organization has six depots in the area (all of them on the banks of the Orange River) at Upington, Janoneiland, Grootdrink, Kakamas, Keimoes and Groblershoop. The wines from OWC are exported to Europe and the USA. The Upington region accounts for more or less 40% of South Africa's grape exports.
- For those experiencing violence and abuse - the silent and the silenced.
- For all those working in the wine industry - from cellar owners to those picking the grapes in the extreme heat
- For the unemployed and those who offer employment
- For the work and witness of the church in Upington
- For Frs John Christie, Andries Pretorius and Gift van Staden