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Quaqua, or Qwaqwa, was a homeland created for the southern Sotho people from a reserve in the Orange Free State (OFS) that had been granted to the followers of a relative of Moshoeshoe. It was only 655 square kilometres big and bordered on Lesotho. The capital was Phuthaditjhaba and initially about 180 000 Seosotho speaking Basotho people lived within its borders. By 1960 there were 20 000 residents, which increased to 300 000 in 1980 and more tan a million in 1990.

The population of the homeland increased as more people were evicted from the OFS as a result of the Natives Land Act. The land in the region was mountainous and unsuitable for cultivation so most of the men had to leave their homes to become part of the migrant labour force. The country's main income came from these migrant workers.

Quaqua, or Qwaqwa, means "whiter than white" in the San language and referred to the sandstone hills of the Drakensberg mountains where the homeland was situated. The area had originally been the home of the Bakwena and Batlokoa groups and when they united in 1969 the region was called KwaKwa, which changed to Quaqua in te same year.

The South African government granted this homeland self-government on 1 November 1974. It became a part of South Africa in 1994, along with the other nine homelands.

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Last updated : 27-Apr-2018

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