This guide to the history and heritage of South Africa’s North-West Province provides information on people, places and events in Province. The province is a recent geographical construct, formed after the new democratic dispensation in the country after 1994. It brings together the former geographical regions known as the western Transvaal, Bophuthatswana and the far northern Cape Province. It covers some 45, 867 sq. miles, and its population is estimated to be 3.7 million people, of whom two-thirds live in predominantly rural districts.
The North-West Province is culturally and geographically diverse. It comprises Africans, mostly Setswana-speakers, whites, mostly Afrikaners, and a number of so-called coloured people and Indians. In the north-west it borders on the arid Kgalagadi desert, to the south flows the mighty Vaal river, in the east lies the Magaliesberg range, and in the south-east it borders on the so-called maize triangle, receiving a rainfall of above 500 mm per annum. Prior to the colonial period it formed most of the region broadly known as the western Highveld.
This guide is part of an ongoing project to give a sense of unity and coherence to this new Province. It offers for the first time an inclusive picture of the region, and restores to the historical record those people and places that have not received recognition in the past due to the imbalances and prejudices of previous political orders in South Africa. It includes a presentation of the political legacy of the struggle against the apartheid system in this part of the country which has only recently come to light and of recent political issues since the emergence of the democratic era in South Africa. At the same time, we have tried to be inclusive in our presentation of the Province's past and to depict the contributions and roles of all those who resided or currently reside in the region.
The Guide also offers also an opportunity to visitors, entrepreneurs or interested individuals to get to understand and know the Province in an easily accessible way. For residents of the North-West, scholars and students, it provides a chance to get to better comprehend the rich heritage of the region and to contribute further to our understanding of the region's past, both ancient and recent. We therefore encourage users to comment on existing entries or add ideas and information on topics which have not been covered, or where the information is inadequate. There is a dearth of historical information on the rural villages and urban townships of the Province, and of the lives of their residents, which can only be uncovered by the people of these places themselves. Nobody is a font of all knowledge, and we therefore encourage users to comment as widely as possible on the material contained on this site.
The foresight and financial support of the North-West Province Department of Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs is acknowledged, as is the role of the Herman Bosman Literary Society in Groot Marico which partnered in this project.
Thanks are due also to the substantial contribution of Vincent Carruthers, the well known author on the environment and other aspects of the heritage of the North West Province.
The compilers of this encyclopedia are Professors and Andrew Manson and Bernard Mbenga.
South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017
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