One of the ten homeland
s or Bantustan
s of South Africa
in the apartheid
period. It was a tiny place, only 655 km2
, high up in the Drakensberg
mountains on the border with Lesotho
It was designed as a homeland for the Basotho people, specifically the Kwena and Tlokwa tribes, and obviously the idea was to absorb it and all the pesky Basotho blacks into Lesotho, the genuinely independent South Sotho kingdom. On its creation in 1969 it was first called KwaKwa, but the name was soon changed to Basotho Qwaqwa. The name ironically means something like "whiter than white", but this refers to the stone of the mountains.
It was granted self-government under the name of Qwaqwa on 1 November 1974. The capital was Phuthaditjhaba. The chief minister was Wessels Mota from 1969 to 1975, and Kenneth Mopeli thereafter.
The flag had a green field with two horizontal orange bars coming towards the centre, referring to the two founding tribes, and to the Orange Free State, from which it had been excised: on this was a black rampant Basotho pony. The motto was Kopano ke Matla, 'Unity is Strength'.
Qwaqwa never applied for independence, and was reabsorbed into democratic South Africa on 27 April 1994. However the name is still used for a National Park in the area.