THIS IS A HISTORY of the health of the people of Pietermaritzburg,
a developing city in Africa and capital of the province of KwaZulu
Natal in South Africa.
The book covers a period of about 170 years: from a time when a
few explorers of European extraction started to settle themselves in
a rural southern African valley, through the process of building and
establishing a colonial town, followed by an apartheid city, and then
a large multiracial and democratically governed metropolis of over
600 000 people.
It shows how this process of creating and inhabiting a city changed
people’s health, for better or worse; and looks at the impact of the
built environment, the physical environment, the social and economic
environment, and the policy and legal environment on health status.
The book examines the history of public health as affected by the
process of urbanisation, combined with the peculiar form of social
engineering that took place in South Africa, particularly during the
photograph: Jack Dyer
Dr Julie Dyer studied medicine at the University of Leeds in the
United Kingdom before coming out to South Africa and studying
Public Health at the University of Natal.
She served as Medical Officer of Health for Pietermaritzburg from
1994 until 2005, during which she began her exhaustive study
of the history of public health in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city.