History of Qwaqwa

2015-10-14 06:00

QWAQWA was a Bantustan or homeland in the eastern part of central South Africa.

It encompassed a very small region of 655 square kilometres in the east of the former South African province of the Orange Free State, bordering Lesotho.

The capital was Phuthaditjhaba. Qwaqwa was the designated homeland for more than 180 000 Sotho-speaking Basotho people.

The frequent snow on the Drakensberg Mountain peaks lead the San to call the region Qwa-Qwa which means whiter than white.

In Afrikaans it was known as Witsieshoek, after the name of a farm.

Two tribes, the Bakoena and the Batlokoa, lived in the region.

In 1969 they were united and the area was named KwaKwa.

In the same year the name was changed to Qwaqwa.

On 1 November 1974 Qwaqwa was granted self-government, with Kenneth Mopeli as the chief minister.

Mopeli would serve as chief minister throughout Qwaqwa’s existence.

After 27 April 1994, Qwaqwa was dissolved, following the first South African democratic election and reunited with South Africa, together with the nine other homelands.

It is now part of the Free State, with Phuthaditjhaba serving as the seat of the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality.

The municipality also comprises the towns of Harrismith and Kestell.

Together they have a combined population of 385 413, of which about 80% live in the former Qwaqwa.

The population is divided as follows: 98,09% black; white 1,68%; coloured 0,09% and Asian and Indian 0,13%.

The area was also a major educational centre in the old apartheid days, with at least 80% of schools in the present Free State having teachers that were educated in the former homeland.

It has a fully functional university, but its teachers’ colleges have been turned into Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.

The university was called the University of Qwaqwa before 1994, but has been incorporated into the University of the Free State (UFS) and renamed to the UFS Qwaqwa Campus. – Additional source: Google

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.