North West

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North West's coat of arms Source:

The North West Province was part of the old Transvaal, and includes most of the parts of the old homeland, Bophuthatswana. There is a lot of platinum in the province, so that it is often called the Platinum Province.

Capital: Mafikeng (it means “The place of rocks”)

Principal languages: Setswana, isiXhosa, Sesotho

Premier: Thandi Modise

First premier (1994): Popo Molefe

North West's claim to fame:

Siege of Mafeking (today Mafikeng) in the Anglo-Boer War

During the Anglo-Boer War, a Boer force besieged the town of Mafikeng. The British soldiers in the town were trapped for 7 months before they were rescued. In this time, Sol Plaatje worked for the British as an interpreter in Mafikeng. After the war he was one of the founders of the SANNC, a political party that later became the ANC.


Platinum jewellery.

The world’s largest platinum mines are near Rustenburg in the North West Province. Most of the world’s platinum comes from the Merensky Reef in the North West Province. Platinum is more valuable than gold, and is very popular in jewellery.

Last updated : 27-Apr-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 31-Mar-2011