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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1959. Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act No 46

This was an extension of the BANTU AUTHORITIES ACT of 1951.

It set up "eight (later extended to ten) distinct 'Bantu Homelands' out of the existing reserves, each with a degree of self-government" (Worden 1994: 110). The chief aim behind this act was to eventually grant independence to the homelands (see the BANTU HOMELANDS CONSTITUTION ACT of 1971), and thereby depriving the Blacks of their South African citizenships (thus effectively increasing the percentage of Whites in South Africa).

Furthermore, it "sought to create a hierarchy of local governments for the Black rural reserves. Thus headmenships, cheiftaincies, paramount chieftaincies, and territorial authorities assumed a place in an orderly progression of power in the Black areas" (Christopher 1994: 66). The local governments were allowed "to tax their own people (as defined by the government in Pretoria), control public works and allocate licenses and trading rights" (Lapping 1986: 181).

Transkei became self-governing in 1963, Tswanaland (later Bophuthatswana), Ciskei and Lebowa became self-governing in 1972, and Venda and Machangana (later Gazankulu) became self-governing in 1973.

A further development of this act was introduzed with the BANTU HOMELANDS CONSTITUTION ACT of 1971, according to which a number of homelands were granted independence between the years 1976 and 1981.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.