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Bophuthatswana (bōpōō´tätswän´ə), former black "homeland" and nominal republic, c.17,000 sq mi (44,000 sq km), N South Africa. Bophuthatswana comprised seven separate areas, one along the Botswana border, the remainder enclaves within N and central South Africa. The capital was Mmabatho (see Mahikeng). Under acts of the South African Parliament, land was set aside for blacks in pseudoindependent territories (originally called "bantustans" ), allegedly to allow to the blacks self-government and cultural preservation. In reality the homelands allowed the white government to control blacks and exclude them from the political process. Bophuthatswana was designated as a homeland for Tswana-speaking people.

Bophuthatswana achieved "self-government" under the Homeland Constitution Act of 1971. In 1977 it was granted "independence," and the South African citizenship of those relocated to the homeland was revoked. Bophuthatswana was not recognized outside South Africa as an independent state. In 1988, the South African government forcibly reinstated Kgosi Lucas Mangope as head of state after a coup attempt. Early in 1994, Mangope was removed by the Pretoria government, which installed an interim government in the homeland. After South Africa's first all-race elections later that year, Bophuthatswana was reincorporated into the country.

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