About The Project


This historical encyclopaedia provides information, largely historical, on people, places and events in the North-West Province, South Africa. 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.

This encyclopedia 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. At the same time, we have tried to be inclusive in our presentation of the Province's past.   

It 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 of the National Heritage Council of South Africa is gratefully acknowledged.

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 Bernartd Mbenga.

 For further information about the compilers/researchers  go to "Contact Us" on the Home Page.