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Republic of Venda

Riphabuliki ya Venda
Republiek van Venda
Flag of Venda.svg
Coat of arms of the Republic of Venda.png
Coat of arms
Motto: "Shumela Venda"  (Venda)
"Always Aspire for Venda"
Anthem: Pfano na vhuthihi  (Venda)a
Peace and Togetherness
Venda in South Africa.svg
Location of Venda (red) within South Africa (yellow).
Status Bantustan
(nominal parliamentary democracy)
Capital Thohoyandou
Common languages Venda
Patrick Mphephu
Frank Ravele
Head of State 
Gabriel Ramushwana
 Jan–Apr 1994
Tshamano G. Ramabulana
1 February 1973
 Nominal independence
13 September 1979
28 April 1994
1980 [1] 7,410 km2 (2,860 sq mi)
 1980 [1]
 1991 [2]
Currency South African rand
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg South Africa
South Africa Flag of South Africa.svg
  1. Anthem of Venda at

Venda ( /ˈvɛndə/ ) was a Bantustan in northern South Africa, which is fairly close to the South African border with Zimbabwe to the north, while to the south and east, it shared a long border with another black homeland, Gazankulu. It is now part of the Limpopo province. Venda was founded as a homeland by the South African government for the Venda people, speakers of the Venda language. [3] The United Nations and international community refused to recognise Venda (or any other Bantustan) as an independent state.

A Bantustan was a territory set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa, as part of the policy of apartheid. Ten Bantustans were established in South Africa, and ten in neighbouring South West Africa, for the purpose of concentrating the members of designated ethnic groups, thus making each of those territories ethnically homogeneous as the basis for creating "autonomous" nation states for South Africa's different black ethnic groups.

Zimbabwe republic in southern Africa

Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

Gazankulu former bantustan in South Africa

Gazankulu was a bantustan in South Africa, intended by the apartheid government to be a semi-independent homeland for the Tsonga people. It was located in both the Northern Transvaal, now Limpopo province and Eastern Transvaal, now Mpumalanga province. It must not be confused with the Gaza kingdom which once existed in Mozambique.



Venda was declared self-governing on 1 February 1973, [4] with elections held later in the year. [5] Further elections were held in July 1978. [5] The territory was declared independent by the South African government on 13 September 1979 and its residents lost their South African citizenship. [6] [7] In common with other Bantustans, its independence was not recognised by the international community.

Venda was initially a series of non-contiguous territories in the Transvaal, with one main part and one main exclave. Its capital, formerly at Sibasa, was moved to Thohoyandou (which included the old Sibasa administrative district) when Venda was declared independent in 1979. Prior to independence it was expanded to form one contiguous territory, with a total land area of 6,807 km². [3] In the 1984 elections the ruling Venda National Party retained its position as ruling party, beating the perpetual oppositionVenda Independent People's Party (VIPP). [5]

Sibasa Place in Limpopo, South Africa

Sibasa is a town in Limpopo Province, South Africa and the former capital city of the Venda bantustan. When Venda was declared independent in 1979, the capital was moved to Thohoyandou.

Thohoyandou Place in Limpopo, South Africa

Thohoyandou is a town/City in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. It is the administrative centre of Vhembe District Municipality and Thulamela Local Municipality. It is also known for being the former capital of the bantustan of Venda. Thohoyandou was built at Tshiluvhi which was under Khosi vho Netshiluvhi. Construction started in 1977 with P East and P West residential area/location as R293 town, a shopping centre and Venda Government buildings. The Netshiluvhis were the first occupants of the area as far back as 1400 AD, i.e. after the collapse of Mapungubwe Kingdom. They were forcefully removed from this area between 1960 and 1970 by the apartheid government of the Venda Bantustan under khosi vho Mphephu Ramabulana. The name Tshiluvhi comes from the Venda word "luvha" which means to pay homages or respect. The former Venda president built his palace and his ministerial resident at Tshiluvhis chiefs kraal as they were already moved by the apartheid government. The following leaders and their subject under Netshiluvhi were forcefully removed from their areas. Some of the Netshiluvhi are known by different names: Malima, Khorommbi, Mathomu, Magidi, and Mudau. The name Tshiluvhi was totally stricken out and replaced by Thohoyandou as per the then government, and was left as a name of a primary school.

At independence in 1979, the population of Vhavenda stood at about 200,000 people. The state was cut off from neighbouring Zimbabwe by the Madimbo corridor, patrolled by South African troops, to the North, and from nearby Mozambique by the Kruger National Park. [3]

Mozambique country in Africa

Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique, is a country located in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Eswatini (Swaziland) and South Africa to the southwest. The sovereign state is separated from the Comoros, Mayotte and Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east. The capital of Mozambique is Maputo while Matola is the largest city, being a suburb of Maputo.

Kruger National Park First national park in South Africa

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. The administrative headquarters are in Skukuza. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa's first national park in 1926.

The first President of Venda, Patrick Mphephu, was also a Paramount Chief of the Vhavenda people; he was born and lived in Dzanani in Limpopo. His successor, Orifuna Ndou, was overthrown in a military coup by the Venda Defence Force in 1990, after which the territory was ruled by the Council of National Unity. Venda was re-absorbed into South Africa on 27 April 1994. [4]

Chief Patrick Ramaano Mphephu was the first president of the bantustan of Venda, which was granted nominal independence from South Africa on 13 September 1979.

Venda Defence Force

The Venda Defence Force (VDF) was established in September 1982 from the 112 Battalion of the South African Defence Force and the military branch of the Venda National Force which itself had been formed when the Venda homeland became independent from South Africa in September 1979.

Institutions of education

In 1982, the University of Venda known as Univen was established as an institution of higher learning for the Vhavenda people. [8] Being nominally independent it was able to set up a casino in the early 1980s, staffed mainly by British workers. This would not have been legally possible in South Africa proper.[ citation needed ]

University of Venda

The University of Venda (UNIVEN) is a South African Comprehensive rural based university, located in Thohoyandou in Limpopo province. It was established in 1982 under the then Republic of Venda government.

Districts in 1991

Districts of the province and population at the 1991 census. [2]

See also

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Vhembe District Municipality District municipality in Limpopo, South Africa

Vhembe is one of the 5 districts of Limpopo province of South Africa. It is the northernmost district of the country and shares its northern border with Beitbridge district in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe and on the east with Gaza Province in Mozambique. Vhembe consist of all territories that were part of the former Venda Bantustan, however, two large densely populated districts of the former Tsonga homeland of Gazankulu, in particular, Hlanganani and Malamulele were also incorporated into Vhembe, hence the ethnic diversity of the District. The seat of Vhembe is Thohoyandou, the former Capital of the former Venda Bantustan. According to 2011 census, the majority of Vhembe residents, about 800 000, speak TshiVenda as their mother language, while 400 000 speak Xitsonga as their home language. However, the Tsonga people are in majority south of Levubu River and they constitute more than 85% of the population in the south of the historic river Levubu, while the Venda are in Minority south of Levubu, at 15%. The Northern Sotho speakers stands at 27 000. The district code is DC34.

The Venda are a Southern African people living mostly near the South African-Zimbabwean border. The bantustan of Venda was created to become a homeland for the Venda people. The Venda people, like their Tsonga neighbours, are one of South Africa's minority groups, they currently number 700 000 speakers in Limpopo Province, while the Tsonga at their doorsteps number 900,000 people, also in Limpopo province.

The system of social segregation in South Africa known as was implemented and enforced by a large number of acts and other laws. This legislation served to institutionalise racial discrimination and the dominance by white people over people of other races. While the bulk of this legislation was enacted after the election of the National Party government in 1948, it was preceded by discriminatory legislation used under earlier British and Boer governments. Apartheid is distinguished from segregation in other countries by the systematic way in which it was formalised in law.

The Limpopo Division of the High Court of South Africa is a superior court of law with general jurisdiction over the Limpopo province of South Africa. The main seat of the court in Polokwane opened on 25 January 2016. The court also has local seats at Thohoyandou and Lephalale. Before the opening of the division, the Gauteng Division at Pretoria had jurisdiction over Limpopo and circuit courts sat at Polokwane.

Louis Trichardt Place in Limpopo, South Africa

Louis Trichardt is a town at the foot of Songozwi, in the Soutpansberg mountain range in the Limpopo province of South Africa. It is named after the voortrekker leader Louis Tregardt; the original Venda name is Tshirululuni, and it is also informally known as Tshitandani. The whole region was known as Dzanani until 1946. It is the centre of the Makhado Local Municipality, which comprises 16,000 km² with a total population of 270,000 (2001). Louis Trichardt is located in a fertile region where litchis, bananas, mangoes and nuts are produced. The national road N1 runs through the town. Louis Trichardt is 437 kilometres from Johannesburg and one hour's drive from the Zimbabwean border at Beitbridge. Louis Trichardt was formerly known as Makhado, but it was changed back to Louis Trichardt. But now many people use the one name or the other. Vleifontein, Elim, Tshikota, Madombidzha, Makhado Park and Dzanani surround the town at all directions.

Parliamentary elections were held in Venda on 15 and 16 August 1973. The Venda Independence People's Party won 13 of the 18 elected seats in the Legislative Assembly.

Parliamentary elections were held in Venda on 5 and 6 July 1978. The Venda Independence People's Party won 31 of the 42 elected seats in the Legislative Assembly.

Parliamentary elections were held in July 1984 in Venda, an independent bantustan in what is now Limpopo province of South Africa. The Venda National Party won 41 of the 45 elected seats in the Legislative Assembly.

Dzanani Place in Limpopo, South Africa

Dzanani is a town and also the name of a region in the former Venda, now part of Limpopo province in South Africa. Dzanani was named after MuDzanani, which is one of the main surnames in Venda; and also the then Paramount Chiefs of Songozwi. The language predominantly spoken is TshiVenda, which is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa.


  1. 1 2 Sally Frankental; Owen Sichone (1 January 2005). South Africa's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. ABC-CLIO. p. 187. ISBN   978-1-57607-674-3 . Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Census > 1991 > Venda > Variable Description > ... > District code". Statistics South Africa – Nesstar WebView. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 Lahiff, p. 55.
  4. 1 2 has a chronology of Venda's transition to nominal independence and reintegration into South Africa.
  5. 1 2 3 Elections in South Africa's Apartheid-Era Homelands "Bantustans" African Elections Database
  6. The Birth of a New Non-State (subscription required), in Time Magazine , 24 September 1979
  7. "S. Africa Launches 'Independent Black State' of Venda," in The Washington Post, 13 September 1979.
  8. University of Venda website Archived 4 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 28 June 2007.