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Divisions of South Africa (1910-1994)

Last modified: 2007-04-21 by bruce berry
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Old Provinces

South Africa consisted of 4 provinces between 1910 and 1994 : None of these provinces had officially recognised flags - although the small flags in the former national flag came from the regions which formed these provinces.

An interesting point of trivia is that all four old provinces had borders with each other and with foreign countries.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999


Former Homelands

Within the "old" South Africa (before 1994), 10 ethnically based homelands were created for the black population of which four were granted "independence" by South Africa (not recognised by any other country in the world) : The black self-administered areas all had flags with the exception of KaNgwane, but this of course was part of the strategy of grand apartheid which envisaged all the homelands becoming independent states. Four - Transkei, Ciskei, Venda and Bophuthatswana were granted independence. This was revoked (forcibly in the case of Bophuthatswana) during the transition process and their flags and emblems ceased to be legal.
Stuart Notholt

The former South African Homelands/Bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa. The flags of the former Homelands are no longer in use (either officially or unofficially).
Bruce Berry, 25 Apr 1996

These are indeed "homelands' or "bantustans." These are some of the homelands that were not declared independent by the Nationalist Government in Pretoria. Ostensibly, they were all being prepared for "independence." All this meant for the ones that were independent that they could issue their own stamps and exchange ambassadors with South Africa, since they were never recognized by anyone else. Everyone whose family came from one of these areas was declared a "citizen" even if they were not living there. This left the rest of the country (the good parts, economically speaking) for the whites.
When I was there in February, I could still see registration tags on cars that indicated they were from KwaZulu. It will take a while for the new government to get new provincial markings together.
Roger Moyer, 14 Nov 1996

Four homelands  were regarded by SA and nowhere else as independent, but the others were still officially self-governing territories within South Africa. The apartheid regime tried hard to get the other homelands to accept "independence" but, if I recall correctly, none wanted it - I think Lebowa came closest - and there were vague plans to hand some ethnically Swazi lands over to Swaziland which would have given it a corridor to the sea.
There were also "homelands" established in Namibia under South African rule, although none came close to independence.
Roy Stilling, 15 Nov 1996

The Homelands were created under apartheid as being the traditional "tribal" areas to which ALL members of the Black population were allocated (whether they had been born there or not!) and in which areas the Black population would have "rights" (such as voting etc.) which they were denied in "white" (i.e. the rest of the country) South Africa. There were 10 such Homelands, 4 of which became "independent". All the Homelands had their own "legislative" assemblies and had a limited amount of autonomy. Those that became "independent" were considered by the South African government as such although this was never recognised by any other government. The Homelands had their own coat of arms and flags, with the exception of KaNgwane which although it had its own arms never had a flag of its own and used only the South African national flag. In the non-independent Homelands, both the Homeland and South African flags were used.
All the Homelands were reincorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994 and ceased to have separate identities. They have now been included within the new provinces. None of the former symbols of the Homelands are in current use although vehicle number plates etc. can still be seen, these are being phased out with the introduction of the new provincial licencing system.
Bruce Berry, 15 Nov 1996