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The Nine Provinces



THE NINE PROVINCES


 
South Africa is currently divided into nine provinces. On the eve of the 1994 general election, South Africa's former homelands, also known as Bantustans, were reintegrated and the four existing provinces were divided into nine. The twelfth, thirteenth and sixteenth amendments to the constitution changed the borders of seven of the provinces. The provinces are as follows.




The Union of South Africa was established in 1910 by combining four British colonies: the Cape Colony, the Natal Colony, the Transvaal Colony and the Orange River Colony. The latter two were, before the Second Boer War, independent republics known as the South African Republic and the Orange Free State.These colonies became the four original provinces of the Union: Cape Province, Transvaal Province, Natal Province and Orange Free State Province.



Segregation of the black population started as early as 1913, with ownership of land by the black majority being restricted to certain areas totalling about 13% of the country. From the late 1950s, these areas were gradually consolidated into "homelands" or "bantustans," which served as the de jure national states of the black population during the apartheid era. In 1976, the homeland of Transkei was the first to accept independence from South Africa, and although this independence was never acknowledged by any other country, three other homelands  Bophuthatswana 1977, Venda 1979 and Ciskei 1981 followed suit.

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Western Cape
The Western Cape is a province in the south west of South Africa. The capital is Cape Town. Prior to 1994, the region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the much larger and now defunct Cape Province. Prior to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, it was called the Cape Colony .
 The Western Cape is roughly L-shaped, extending north and east from the Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern corner of South Africa.It stretches about 400 kilometres 250 mi northwards along the Atlantic coast and about 500 kilometres 300 mi, eastwards along the Indian Ocean coast.It is bordered on the north by the Northern Cape and on the east by the Eastern Cape. The total land area of the province is 129,462 square kilometres 49,986 sq mi,about 10.6% of the country’s total. It is roughly the size of England or the US state of Louisiana.
 The Breede, Berg and Olifants Rivers are major rivers of the province. The capital is Cape Town and other major cities include Stellenbosch, Worcester, Paarl, and George. The Garden Route and the Overberg are popular coastal tourism areas.


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Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa. It was created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up.Its capital is Kimberley.It includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of an international park shared with Botswana. It also includes the Augrabies Falls and the diamond mining regions in Kimberley and Alexander Bay. The Namaqualand region in the west is famous for its Namaqualand daisies.The southern towns of De Aar and Colesberg, in the Great Karoo, are major transport nodes between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.In the northeast,Kuruman is famous as a mission station and also for its 'eye'.The Orange River flows through the province,forming the borders with the Free State in the southeast and with Namibia to the northwest.The river is also used to irrigate the many vineyards in the arid region near Upington.




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Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga from Eastern Transvaal on 24 August 1995, is a province of South Africa. The name means east or literally "the place where the sun rises" in Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area. In the north it borders on Limpopo, to the west Gauteng, to the southwest the Free State and to the south KwaZulu-Natal. The capital is Nelspruit recently renamed to Mbombela. Prior to 1994, Mpumalanga was part of Transvaal Province.The Drakensberg Escarpment divides Mpumalanga into a westerly half consisting mainly of high-altitude grassland called the Highveld and an eastern half situated in low altitude subtropical Lowveld/Bushveld, mostly savanna habitat. The southern half of the Kruger National Park is situated in the latter region. The Drakensberg exceeds heights of 2000m in most places with this central region of Mpumalanga being very mountainous. These regions have alpine grasslands and small pockets of Afromontane Forest. The Lowveld is relatively flat with interspersed rocky outcrops. The Lebombo Mountains form a low range in the far east forming the border with Mozambique.





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North West

North West is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Mahikeng. The province is located to the west of the major population centre of Gauteng.North West was created after the end of Apartheid in 1994, and includes parts of the former Transvaal Province and Cape Province, as well as most of the former Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. It was recently the scene of political violence in Khutsong, Merafong City Local Municipality. Merafong has since been transferred to Gauteng province.Much of the province consists of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the northeast extends about 130 km about 80 miles from Pretoria to Rustenburg. The Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province.




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KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal also referred to as KZN or Natal) is a province of South Africa. Prior to 1994, the territory now known as KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the province of Natal and the homeland of KwaZulu.

In the 1830s, the northern part was the Zulu Kingdom and southern part was briefly a Boer republic called Natalia 1839–1843. In 1843, the latter became the British Colony of Natal; Zululand KwaZulu in Zulu remained independent until 1879.
This region is the birthplace of many notable figures in South Africa's history, such as Pixley ka Isaka Seme founder of the African National Congress and the first Black lawyer in South Africa, John Langalibalele Dube founding president of the ANC, Mangosuthu Buthelezi founder of the IFP, Anton Lembede founding president of the ANC Youth League, Jacob Zuma current President of South Africa, and Bhambatha.
It is called the garden province and is the home of the Zulu nation. Two natural areas: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, have been declared UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites. Located in the southeast of the country, the province has a long shoreline on the Indian Ocean. It borders three other provinces and the countries of Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Its capital is Pietermaritzburg, and its largest city is Durban




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Limpopo

Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. It was named after the Limpopo River; "Limpopo" means "waterfalls" in Zulu and other Nguni languages. The capital is Polokwane, formerly named Pietersburg. The province was formed from the northern region of Transvaal Province in 1994, and initially named Northern Transvaal. The following year, it was renamed Northern Province, which remained the name until 2003, when the name of the province was formally changed to the name of its most important river on the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana–after deliberation by the provincial government and amendment of the Constitution. A notable consideration for the name was Mapungubwe, the area where the most ancient gold using civilisation of the province was discovered a few years earlier.

Limpopo Province shares international borders with districts and provinces of three countries: Botswana's Central and Kgatleng districts to the west and north-west respectively, Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces to the north and northeast respectively, and Mozambique's Gaza Province to the east. The province is the link between South Africa and countries further afield in sub-Saharan Africa. On its southern flank from east to west, the province shares borders with Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and North West. Its border with Gauteng includes that province's Johannesburg-Pretoria axis, the most industrialised metropole on the continent. The province is at the centre of regional, national, and international developing markets.




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Orange Free State

The Orange Free State (Dutch: Oranje-Vrijstaat Afrikaans: Oranje-Vrystaat) was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province. Extending between the Orange and Vaal rivers, its borders were determined by the United Kingdom in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a seat of a British Resident in Bloemfontein.

In the northern part of the territory a Voortrekker Republic was established at Winburg in 1837. This state merged with the Republic of Potchefstroom which later formed part of the South African Republic Transvaal.
Following the granting of independence to the Transvaal Republic, the British recognized the independence of the Orange River Sovereignty on 17 February 1854 and the country officially became independent as the Orange Free State on 23 February 1854, with the signing of the Orange River Convention. The United States and the Orange Free State mutually recognized each other in 1871. The new republic incorporated both the Orange River Sovereignty and the traditions of the Winburg-Potchefstroom Republic.




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Gauteng

Gauteng 
is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. It was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's first all-race elections on 27 April 1994. It was initially named Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (or PWV) and was renamed "Gauteng" in December 1994.Situated in the heart of the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, with only 1.4% of the land area, but it is highly urbanised, containing the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. As of 2011 it had a population of nearly 12.3 million, making it the most populous province in South Africa

Gauteng's southern border is the Vaal River, which separates it from the Free State. It also borders on North West to the west, Limpopo to the north, and Mpumalanga to the east. Gauteng is the only landlocked province of South Africa without a foreign border. Most of Gauteng is on the Highveld, a high-altitude grassland (circa 1,500 m/4,921 ft above sea level). Between Johannesburg and Pretoria there are low parallel ridges and undulating hills, some part of the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Witwatersrand. The north of the province is more subtropical, due to its lower altitude and is mostly dry savanna habitat.




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Eastern Cape
 
Eastern Cape is one of South Africa's leading nature and conservation based tourism destinations, offering a wealth of game viewing, diverse scenic beauty.The nature reserves managed by Eastern Cape Parks cover an area of some 438,000 hectares. A commitment to protecting bio-diversity and conservation of the biomes, will see a total increase of this area by 10,000 hectares annually; the eradication of non-indigenous flora and fauna; mutually beneficial relationships with neighbouring communities and the preservation of cultural resources.




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