Bophuthatswana is granted independence by the South African government

Bophuthatswana FlagBophuthatswana Flag. Source:

Tuesday, 6 December 1977

Thirty-four years ago, on 6 December 1977, Bophuthatswana was granted ‘independence' by the South African government. The region became the second Bantustan to gain ‘independence’ following the Transkei, a year earlier. The region’s President, Lucas Mangope, launched a campaign to construct top-class facilities, including hospitals, schools and sports grounds.

After the 1994 elections, Bophuthatswana, together with other homelands, was incorporated to form part of South Africa’s nine provinces. It is now part of the North West Province. Other parts of the homeland have been incorporated into the Northern Cape Province. 

Before 1994 a pro ANC faction in the homeland, led by Malebane Metsing, unsuccessfully attempted to oust Mangope. But it had become apparent that the end for the homeland government and their apartheid overlords was imminent.  A group of Afrikaner right-wingers, in a bid to keep Mangope at the helm, entered the homeland. They hoped to prevent the homeland falling under the influence of the ANC or any of the political formations opposed to apartheid. The army and police dealt with the intruders, leaving scores of people dead.


  1. South African History Online (2011). ‘Bophuthatswana’from South African History Online [online]. Available at [Accessed 04 November 2011]
  2. Body-Evans, A. (2011). ‘This Day in African History: 6 December’, from African History, [online]. Available at [Accessed 04 November 2011]

Last updated : 30-Nov-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 23-Nov-2011

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