Bulembu is a small town located in northwestern Hhohho, Swaziland, 10 km west of the town of Piggs Peak. Located above the Komati Valley in Swaziland’s Highveld, Bulembu is named after the siSwati word for a spider's web. The town of Bulembu is privately owned by a not-for-profit, Bulembu Ministries Swaziland.
Between 1939 and 2001, Bulembu operated as a chrysolite mine. Originally named Havelock Mine, the mine was part of the Turner & Newall Asbestos Group. The mine encountered heavy losses in the late 1980s and subsequently went bankrupt in 1991. The company was liquidated and the assets purchased in 1991 by HVL Asbestos Swd. Ltd. who changed the name of the mine to Bulembu Mine. HVL Asbestos ran the mine until it went into liquidation in 2001.
Upon liquidation the 10,000 residents of Bulembu soon deserted the town in search for employment elsewhere and the town became a ghost town with little more than 50 people remaining there. This was during the time that Swaziland was (as it continues to be) ravaged by the HIV/AIDS virus. There was a 900% increase in infection in one decade with the infection rate sitting at 3.9% in 1992 to 38.6% in 2002. Today over 40% of the population is infected and the result is a nation-wide orphan crisis.