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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Mangope, Lucas Manyane

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Lucas Mangope was born in 1923 into an old ruling family of chiefs, and when he turned 21 he became leader of the Mathlathowa region. When his father died in 1959 Mangope became chief of Motswedi-Barutshe-Bu-Manyane tribe, and joined the Zeerust regional authority. In 1961 Mangope became vice-chairman for the Tswana territorial authority. In 1968 he became chief councillor of the executive council and remained in this position until he was made first chief minister of Bophuthatswana in 1972. After visiting to America in 1972 Mangope stated that he wanted social and economic equality in South Africa, an opinion he had not held prior to 1973.

Mangope resigned from the Bophuthatswana National Party and became leader of the BDP in 1974. in 1975 he became chief minister. The BDP took power in Bophuthatswana in 1977 when independence was declared. In the first post-independence election the BDP won by a landslide. In October 1985 Mangope closed the University of Bophuthatswana but it was then re-opened. In November 1985 civil disturbances spread in Bophuthatswana. In 1986 the Mangope offered to arbitrate between the ANC and the South African government. The ANC replied that it wanted no dealings with Mangope.

In the 1987 election Mangope won most of the seats. In 1988 Malebane-Metsing, leader of the Progressive People's Party, led a coup against Mangope; however the coup was crushed within 17 hours. The PPP was banned, and Mangope consolidated his position through mass arrests and a purge in government departments.

In 1991 Mangope attended CODESA but refused to sign agreements that could result in the abolition of Bophuthatswana as a sovereign state. Mangope made it clear that he favoured a federal system of government. In 1992 an agreement was reached at CODESA that re-incorporation of the 'independent' and 'self-governing' Bantustans might be the best option for these territories; however Mangope stated that before an agreement on re-incorporation could be reached the powers of the territories would have to be defined and agreed upon.

Mangope was deposed as dictator of Bophuthatswana in 1994, overthrown by members of government and the ANC just before the crucial first democratic elections, resulting in the collapse of the Bantustan and free political activity. Bophuthatswana was reincorporated into South Africa in 1994.

Sources: Shelagh Gastrow, 1995. Who's who in South African Politics, Number 4. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.

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.