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Republic of Venda
Riphabuliki ya Venda
Republiek van Venda
(nominal parliamentary democracy)

Flag Coat of arms
"Shumela Venda"  (Venda)
"Always Aspire for Venda"
Pfano na vhuthihi  (Venda)a
Peace and Togetherness
Location of Venda in Southern Africa.
Capital Thohoyandou
Languages Venda
Political structure Bantustan
 •  1979–1988 Patrick Mphephu
 •  1988–1990 Frank Ravele
Head of State
 •  1990–1994 Gabriel Ramushwana
 •  Jan–Apr 1994 Tshamano G. Ramabulana
 •  Self-government 1 February 1973
 •  Nominal independence 13 September 1979
 •  Dissolution 27 April 1994
 •  1980[1] 7,410 km² (2,861 sq mi)
 •  1980[1] est. 315,545 
     Density 42.6 /km²  (110.3 /sq mi)
 •  1991[2] est. 558,797 
Currency South African rand
a. Anthem of Venda at

Venda was a bantustan in northern South Africa, bordering Zimbabwe to the north, while to the south it shared a long border with another black homeland, Gazankulu. It is now part of Limpopo province. Venda was founded as a homeland by the South African government for the Venda people, speakers of the Venda language.[3] For this reason the United Nations and international community refused to recognize Venda as an independent state.


  • History 1
  • Districts in 1991 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes and references 4
  • Sources 5


Internal borders, Venda in red

It 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 recognized 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 Independence People's Party lost to the Venda National Party.[5]

At independence in 1973, the population of Venda stood at 200,000 people. The Venda people, just like their Tsonga neighbours in the former Gazankulu, are South Africa's minority groups. They currently numbers 700 000 speakers, while the Tsonga at their doorsteps numbers just 900 000. The state was cut off from neighboring Zimbabwe by the Madimbo corridor, patrolled by South African troops, to the north, and from nearby Mozambique by the Kruger National Park.[3]

The first President of Venda, Patrick Mphephu, was also a Paramount Chief of the Venda people; he was born and lived in Dzanani in Limpopo. His successor, Frank Ravele, was overthrown in a military coup 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]

In 1982, the University of Venda was established as an institution for higher learning for vha-Venda people.[8] Being nominally independent it was possible to set up a casino in the early 1980, staffed mainly by British workers.

Districts in 1991

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

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Sally Frankental; Owen Sichone (2005-01-01). South Africa's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. ABC-CLIO. p. 187.  
  2. ^ a b "Census > 1991 > Venda > Variable Description > ... > District code". Statistics South Africa - Nesstar WebView. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Lahiff, p. 55.
  4. ^ a b has a chronology of Venda's transition to nominal independence and reintegration into South Africa.
  5. ^ a b c Elections in South Africa's Apartheid-Era Homelands "Bantustans" African Elections Database
  6. ^ The Birth of a New Non-State, 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, retrieved 28 June 2007.


  • Lahiff, E. (2000) An Apartheid Oasis?: Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods in Venda, Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-5137-0.

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