Venda () was a Bantustan in northern South Africa, which is fairly close to the South African border with Zimbabwe to the north, while to the south and east, it shared a long border with another black homeland, Gazankulu. It is now part of the Limpopo province. Venda was founded as a homeland by the South African government for the Venda people, speakers of the Venda language.Lahiff, p. 55. The United Nations and international community refused to recognise Venda (or any other Bantustan) as an independent state.


Venda was declared self-governing on 1 February 1973,Worldstatesman.com
has a chronology of Venda's transition to nominal independence and reintegration into South Africa.
with elections held later in the year. Further elections were held in July 1978. The territory was declared independent by the South African government on 13 September 1979 and its residents lost their South African citizenship. In common with the other Bantustans, its independence was not recognised by the international community. Venda was initially a series of non-contiguous territories in the Transvaal, with one main part and one main exclave. Its capital, formerly at Sibasa, was moved to Thohoyandou (which included the old Sibasa administrative district) when Venda was declared independent in 1979. Prior to independence it was expanded to form one contiguous territory, with a total land area of 6,807 km². In the 1984 elections the ruling Venda National Party retained its position as ruling party, beating the perpetual opposition Venda Independent People's Party (VIPP).Elections in South Africa's Apartheid-Era Homelands "Bantustans"
African Elections Database
At independence in 1979, the population of Vhavenda stood at about 200,000 people. The state was cut off from neighbouring Zimbabwe by the Madimbo corridor, patrolled by South African troops, to the North, and from nearby Mozambique by the Kruger National Park. The first President of Venda, Patrick Mphephu, was also a Paramount Chief of the Vhavenda people; he was born and lived in Dzanani in Limpopo. His successor, Frank Ravele, was overthrown in a military coup by the Venda Defence Force in 1990, after which the territory was ruled by the Council of National Unity. Venda was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994.

Institutions of education

In 1982, the University of Venda known as Univen was established as an institution of higher learning for the Vhavenda people.University of Venda website
. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
Being nominally independent, Venda was able to set up a casino in the early 1980s, staffed mainly by British workers. This would not have been legally possible in South Africa proper.

Districts in 1991

Districts of the province and population at the 1991 census. * Dzanani: 123,035 * Mutale: 244,532 * Thohoyandou: 136,089 * Vuwani: 55,141

Security forces

The Venda National Force was established with Venda’s independence in 1979 and included defence and other services such as police and prisons. Strange enough, traffic policing was part of this national force, but by 1981 it was transferred to the Department of Justice. The Fire Brigade was however still part of the Venda National Force although there was plans to transfer this to the civilian government.

See also

*Heads of State of Venda *Venda people (Vhavenda), the ethnic group who live mostly in the Limpopo province in South Africa. *Venda Defence Force



*Lahiff, E. (2000) ''An Apartheid Oasis?: Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods in Venda'', Routledge. . {{coord missing|South Africa Category:Bantustans in South Africa Category:States and territories established in 1973 Category:1973 establishments in South Africa Category:1994 disestablishments in South Africa Category:Former polities of the Cold War Category:Former republics Category:States and territories disestablished in 1994