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

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