The first ‘Bantustans’ or ‘homelands’ comes into existence when the Transkei Regional Authority is instituted

Transkian Flag

Wednesday, 11 December 1963

On 11 December 1963 the first of the 'Bantustans' or 'homelands' came into existence when the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, De Wet Nel, opened the Transkei Legislative Assembly at Umtata. Chief Kaiser Matanzima was installed as Chief Minister. With this development Transkei became partially self-governing. The cabinet, consisting of chief minister Matanzima and five other ministers, controlled the portfolios of finance, justice, the interior, agriculture and forestry, education, and roads and works. Defence, internal security, immigration, money and banking and several other departments remained under control of the South African government.

The homelands:

After South Africa became a Union, the government wanted Black and White people to live separately, so they set certain areas apart for Black people. Before the Union they were rural areas ruled by local chiefs. They came to be called 'Native Locations' and Black South Africans were systematically dispossessed of their land access via the 1913 Land Act.

Later, under apartheid (after 1948) the division and control were more rigorous and these areas were called homelands. The idea was that the homelands would be like countries where the Black people could live and vote for their own governments, led by chiefs controlled by the apartheid state. As the White minority state expanded its divide and rule plan of control, there was a homeland for every major Black language in South Africa. These groups were called nations, and all Black South Africans were made citizens of one of these 'homeland' 'countries', regardless of where they had been born or where they now lived. The devastating forced removal of millions of now non-citizens of South Africa then became part of the history of our country.

References:
• Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds) (1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 2, p. 89;
• Kalley, J.A.; Schoeman, E. & Andor, L.E. (eds) (1999). Southern African Political History: a chronology of key political events from independence to mid-1997, Westport: Greenwood.
• South African History Online,The Homelands,[online],Available at www.sahistory.org.za [Accessed: 26 November 2013]

Last updated : 09-Dec-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011