North West

Home > Place > North West
1

North West's coat of arms Source: www.ngw.nl

The North West Province was part of the old Transvaal, and includes most of the parts of the old homeland, Bophuthatswana. There is a lot of platinum in the province, so that it is often called the Platinum Province.

Capital: Mafikeng (it means “The place of rocks”)

Principal languages: Setswana, isiXhosa, Sesotho

Premier: Thandi Modise

First premier (1994): Popo Molefe

North West's claim to fame:

Siege of Mafeking (today Mafikeng) in the Anglo-Boer War

During the Anglo-Boer War, a Boer force besieged the town of Mafikeng. The British soldiers in the town were trapped for 7 months before they were rescued. In this time, Sol Plaatje worked for the British as an interpreter in Mafikeng. After the war he was one of the founders of the SANNC, a political party that later became the ANC.

Platinum

Platinum jewellery.

The world’s largest platinum mines are near Rustenburg in the North West Province. Most of the world’s platinum comes from the Merensky Reef in the North West Province. Platinum is more valuable than gold, and is very popular in jewellery.

History was made in 1979 when Sun City was opened in the North West to become the best holiday resort in South Africa, and for good reason. Home to the Valley of Waves and sprawled along the border of the Pilanesberg National Park, Sun City Resort enjoys the fine distinction of being the only surf-and-safari destination within a two-hour drive of landlocked Johannesburg. Whether you’re looking for a romantic stay with your partner, a fun weekend getaway with friends or a North West holiday with the whole family, Sun City Resort has it all! Among Southern Africa’s fascinating game reserves, Pilanesberg National Park is possibly the most accessible. Situated in the ecologically rich transition zone between the Kalahari and the Lowveld, this vast area promises thrilling big game viewing in a malaria free environment. A wide variety of accommodation is available to suit your needs. 
The principal town, Vryburg, is the centre of a large agricultural district which has all the modern conveniences. However moving out of the town and into the real Bophirima will provide a uniquely relaxing break from modern life. The larger part of the region is still commonly known as Stellaland. Taung is the site of the discovery of the Taung skull, one of the world’s most important archaelogical discoveries. The region is also affectionately known as “The Texas of South Africa” given its strong mining and agricultural economy.
The region is situated 1,200m above sea level and has an annual average rainfall of 430mm. The climate is dry and healthy, particularly in winter when days are sunny and bracing. Summers are hot with temperatures ranging from 16 – 38 degrees C.
The vast expanses of this African savannah bushland is home to a great variety of game species, including lion, buffalos and rhino to be encountered at number of privately owned game reserves!

Last updated : 06-Aug-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 31-Mar-2011