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Itsoseng




Edited/updated 11 November 2016.

The African township of Itsoseng, as it was later called, was established by the Nationalist Party government under the administration of the Western Transvaal Board in 1963 on a farm called De Hoop, the same name given to the new township. Its residents, mostly children and the aged, had been forcefully removed from the so-called 'black spots' in areas like Potchefstroom, Coligny, Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg. Itsoseng's first Township Superintendent was a Mr Jonker.
  The first houses in De Hoop were made of corrugated iron sheets with only one room. There was no sanitation and no clean water and the residents had to make do with outside pit toilets made of iron sheets. There some communal taps. Later, a room was added to each of the dwellings. The shiny appearance of the dwellings earned De Hoop the name Mooidorpie ('beautiful town'). In 1964, better four-roomed houses were erected in what in two extended parts of the Township that came to be known as Zone 1 and Zone 2. For the first time in De Hoop, these houses had toilets inside. There were water taps inside the yards and storm water drainage was constructed along the roads.

In preparation for the creation of the Homeland of Bophuthatswana, the apartheid government dumped more Africans uprooted from 'black spots' elsewhere.
 
With the creation of Bophuthatswana in 1977, De Hoop became part of Ditsobotla, one of the regions that made up the Homeland. This brought with it developments such as schools, churches, shops, a bank, clinics and, of course, a police station. It was at this time that the Township's residents renamed De Hoop, Itsoseng, meaning that the community must wake up and fend for themselves. Following the establishment of Bophuthatswana, a black superintendent, A. M. Tekete, was appointed forItsoseng. The government of Bophuthatswana continued to build more houses in Itsoseng as a means of attracting more people to the place. Coming to live in Itsoseng entitled one to a house. However, the catch to the bait was that doing so meant the loss of one's South African citizenship. During the 1980s, part of the resistance of residents against the Bophuthatswana government was the boycott of payment of rent and services, claiming that they were South African citizens. On the eve of the coming of majority rule  in South Africa, the people of Itsoseng went on a campaign of destruction of government property and the looting shops. In 1993, in the first democratic local elections withing Itsoseng, Councillor E. H. Mogase was elected Mayor, but had to vacate the seat soon afterwards due to the political unrest of the time. The Local Council of Itsoseng was elected in 1994, soon after the fall of the Bophuthatswana regime.
 Itsoseng forms part of the Ngaka Modiri Molema municipality. In 2014/15, two schools in Itsoseng, including Abakwe Priary school were closed as part of a country-wide closure of schools, and puplis were transferred to nearby institutions; but the move was met with community protests in the township.  



South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

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