In 1962, the South African Government created Venda as a homeland for the Venda-speaking people. The area set aside for the bantustan, or homeland, was in the north east of South Africa close to the Zimbabwe border. Its northeastern border was the Kruger National Park with Gazankulu, another homeland, towards the southeast. Its capital was Thohoyandou and it was the smallest of all the homelands.
The homelands were supposedly created to allow Black South Africans to govern themselves and to preserve their culture, but in reality they denied their residents any opportunity to participate in South African politics. They also lost their citizenship to the country and were contained on a fraction of the usable land in the republic.
In 1973 Venda was granted self-government and in 1979 it was granted independence. The United Nations (UN) Security Council condemned the homelands policy as a strategy of the South African government's to further apartheid and Venda was not recognised as an independent country by the rest of the world.
The economy largely depended on agriculture until coalmining began in the 1980s. Most of the men from the area were migrant workers and their wages made up about 40% of the small homeland's income.
Venda applied to become a part of South Africa in 1991. The homeland policy was dissolved in 1994 and all the homelands in the country were absorbed into South Africa.