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Republic of Venda
Riphabuliki ya Venda
Republiek van Venda
(nominal parliamentary democracy)
Coat of arms
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 (2,860 sq mi)
 •  1980[1] est. 315,545 
     Density 43/km2 (110/sq mi)
 •  1991[2] est. 558,797 
Currency South African rand
Preceded by
Succeeded by
South Africa
South Africa
a. Anthem of Venda at

Venda (/vɛnˈdə/) 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 the 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.


File:Venda in South Africa.svg
Internal borders, Venda in red

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 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 about 200,000 people. 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]

Institutions of Education

In 1982, the University of Venda was established as an institution of higher learning for the Venda people.[8] Being nominally independent it was possible 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]

Districts in 1991

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

See also


  1. Sally Frankental; Owen Sichone (2005-01-01). South Africa's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. ABC-CLIO. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-57607-674-3. Retrieved 2013-09-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Census > 1991 > Venda > Variable Description > ... > District code". Statistics South Africa - Nesstar WebView. Retrieved 18 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lahiff, p. 55.
  4. 4.0 4.1 has a chronology of Venda's transition to nominal independence and reintegration into South Africa.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 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, retrieved 28 June 2007.


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