The second phase which involved the construction of a convent was completed in January 1979. Two Nardini Sisters took up residence in the new convent in February 1979. The convent chapel was used by the Catholic community of Richards Bay for Sunday Mass from June 1978 until August 1986 when the new church in Veld-en-Vlei was opened. The influx of people to Richards Bay in the early eighties brought about a marked increase in the number of Catholics. This in turn made it necessary to think of building a proper church. Duvenhage and Fischer, architects from Richards Bay, were approached to submit designs. During this planning period, all parishioners were invited to make suggestions for the new Catholic centre.
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He introduced a weekly Mass, which was held in the Methodist Church in Meerensee and later in the Primary School in Arboretum. The Diocese of Eshowe had in the meanwhile bought a church site in Meerensee. The site was offered to the Nardini Sisters who built a convent and a primary school there in 1977/78. Reg Sommerville, an architect from Empangeni, drew up the plans. O'Connell Brothers, an Empangeni company, began the building operations in June 1977. They finished the first phase within one year so that Archabbot Notker Wolf of St. Ottilien (Germany), who was at that time in South Africa on a visit, could bless the chapel and kindergarten on 12 August 1978.
 However, like most of South Africa, the Richards Bay area is plagued by unemployment and poverty. Unemployment has been estimated at forty per cent and an undefined number of people live below the poverty line. The local government have not made enough efforts to implement projects aimed at poverty reduction. The "John Ross Parkway" (P496) which links Richards Bay to Empangeni and the N2 highway is named after "John Ross" (real name, Charles Rawden Maclean), who at the age of 15 walked from Port Natal to Maputo and back to procure medicine and supplies for the early settlers.
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The town has an average annual rainfall of 1228 millimetres (48. 3 in). The average annual temperature is 21. 5 °C (71 °F), with daytime maxima peaking from January to March at 29 °C (84 °F), and the minimum is 21 °C (70 °F), dropping to daytime highs from June to August of 23 °C (73 °F) and a minimum of 12 °C (53 °F). Sunrise is at 04h45 and sunset at 19h00 in summer. In winter sunrise is at 06h20 and sunset at 17h00.
The various racial makeups of the seven different suburbs are still along the Apartheid-era segregation lines, with Meerensee a mostly white area, while suburbs such as Brackenham and Aquadene are predominantly Indian/Asian and Ngwelezane home to the black community. However, in recent years there has been a movement towards more integration, with predominantly black people moving into other, traditionally higher-income areas, due to the growing black middle-class in the area. 22 per cent of the population have completed school only.
A further 8. 45 per cent have a tertiary education. 16. 7 per cent have received no schooling at all. However, this data reflects the uMhlathuze municipality as a whole. Geography and climate Richards Bay is characterised by a humid subtropical climate that very closely borders a tropical savanna climate as only two months have an average temperature of below 18 °C There are warm wet summers and mild moist to dry frost-free winters.
 Richards Bay also has the deepest natural harbour on the African continent. History The town began as a makeshift harbour that was set up by Commodore of the Cape, Sir Markus Eugene Brown, during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. In 1902, Cathcart Methven, the harbour engineer for the Natal Government, in his Zululand Port Survey recognized the potential of Richards Bay as a new harbour for the eastern shore.  In 1935 the Richards Bay Game Sanctuary was created to protect the ecology around the lagoon and by 1943 it expanded into Richards Bay Park.
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