oa Africa Insight - Basic Features of the Population of Bophuthatswana

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



This article analyses the basic features of the population of Bophuthatswana as regards size and composition, rate of growth, distribution and mobility and singles out the most important implications. The fact that only 35,6 percent of the total Tswana population resided in Bophuthatswana in 1970, and that the centre of gravity of the Tswana population lies relatively far outside the country in the white area of South Africa, together with the fact that 32,7 percent of the de facto black population of Bophuthatswana were members of other ethnic groups, have inter alia major implications for the formation of a nation state. From 1904 up to 1951 Bophuthatswana experienced a constant out-migration of population. Since 1951 the population increased at a high annual rate due mainly to in-migration as a result of resettlement of blacks. This resettlement program was to a great extent responsible for the urbanisation process in Bophuthatswana. Commuters from towns to nearby white areas, leakage of purchasing power from Bophuthatswana and problems to establish sound economic bases for the towns are well known phenomena. The population is gradually moving from the heart-land to the eastern areas where large scale squatting is taking place.

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