Home to about 74,000 residents, Upington is a thriving agricultural center on the north bank of the Orange River. In the 1870s a Koranna (a group within the Na'ama culture) captain named Klaas Lucas invited missionary Christiaan Schroder to come to Olyvenhoudtsdrift (Ford at the Olive-wood Trees), as Upington was first known. Construction on the first mission buildings, now part of the Upington museum complex, was started in 1873. The town was renamed after Sir Thomas Upington, a Cape attorney general who was responsible for ridding the area of its notorious bandits in the 1880s. Although convention has it that the first person to irrigate crops from the Orange was Schroder himself, recent historical research has revealed that this honor should go to Abraham September, a freed coloured slave, who first led water from the Orange in about 1882.
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