Country of the World South Africa Bophuthatswana

About Bophuthatswana in the country South Africa, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.





Lay of the Land: The independent homeland of Bophuthatswana (an unrecognized nation) consists of seven separate pieces of land, none of which is contiguous with any other. One of the seven pieces shares a border with Botswana, but the so-called Republic of Bophuthatswana is otherwise surrounded by white-dominated South Africa.

Size: Approximately 14,500 sq. mi. (37,555 sq. km.).

Population: About 1 million are living within the boundaries of the territory. Another 1.1 million Tswana people living in South Africa have been stripped of South African citizenship and are now considered foreigners in areas where they have, in many cases, lived for generations. Most Tswanas do not want the Bophuthatswana citizenship being thrust upon them.

Who Rules: Bophuthatswana became "independent" on Dec. 6, 1977, the second South African Bantustan to be granted independence. Like the Transkei, Bophuthatswana was not recognized by a single nation other than South Africa. The South African-backed Democratic party under Chief Lucas Mangope holds 90 of the 96 seats of the Bophuthatswana Parliament.

Who Really Rules: South Africa. Chief Mangope, who in a preindependence survey polled support from only 1% of the Tswana people, retains control only because of South African government backing. Communication between the different parts of the territory is possible only with South African consent.

In the aftermath of the Soweto riots of 1976, the Bophuthatswana Parliament building was burned down by Tswanas to show their displeasure with the Bantustan policy that would force independence upon them. Mangope's own son was involved in the rioting that resulted in the destruction of the Parliament building.

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