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Gazankulu (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2005-02-06 by
Keywords: south africa | homeland | gazankulu |
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[Gazankulu] by Mark Sensen

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Gazankulu - introduction

Within the "old" South Africa, 10 homelands were created, four of which were granted "independence" by South Africa (not recognised by any other country in the world). These former South African Homelands/bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa.
The flags of the former Homelands are no longer in use (either officially or unofficially).
Bruce Berry, 25 April 1996

One main part and one smaller enclave in north eastern Transvaal (today's Northern Province), extensively bordering on Venda and briefly Lebowa and Kangwane.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999

The name Gazankulu is derived from Lake Gaza and Gazaland in nearby Mozambique. The Shangaan people living in the area are closely related to the Tsonga who live in Mozambique. Originally Gazankulu was named Machangana, for its Shangaan inhabitants. Gazankulu was granted internal self-government on 1 February 1973.
Bruce Berry, 1 December 1998

The name Shangaan is used of the Tsonga of the former Gazankulu because one of the kings who ruled the state (formed by Nguni-speaking exiles from the area later called Zululand) was Shoshangane. Although the Gaza kingdom was ruled by abeNguni, it never adopted the isiNguni language, instead retaining its Tsonga tongue (which was nonetheless heavily influenced by isiNguni). The term Tsonga is, strictly speaking, the correct one to use for this people, whether in South Africa or in Mozambique. I believe the name Shangaan (or its Portuguese equivalent) is used on either side of the border - the spelling Machangana indicates a Portuguese origin, since the combination CH in Portuguese has the same sound as SH in English.
Mike Oettle, 30 Jan 2002


Gazankulu Flag description

The design of the Gazankulu flag is set out in section 2 of the Gazankulu Flag Act of 1973, which reads as follows:
"The Gazankulu Flag shall be a flag consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom blue, white and blue, on which there shall appear, in the centre of the white stripe, two traditional black wooden spoons in saltire with the handles sloping backwards and connected archwise by means of a black chain consisting of 15 links.
The width of the Gazankulu flag shall be equal to two-thirds of its length.
The length of each of the black spoons shall be equal to two-thirds of the width of the flag".
The blue panels are said to symbolise the infinity of the sky and, like the sky, that there should be no limit to advancement and development. The choice of black and white in the central panel alludes to the co-operation between the black and white people in the territory. The spoons joined by a chain are in actual use by the Shangaan people during traditional ceremonies. Being carved out of a single block of wood, the spoons cannot be separated and harmony must prevail between two people wishing to eat with them. Their appearance is a signal that disputes must be settled and hospitality offered to strangers.
The date of commencement of this Act was 18 December 1973. It was amended in 1986 by means of the Gazankulu Flag Amendment Act which provided for penalties in respect of the defacement, damage, destruction of, or contempt for the flag of Gazankulu.
Gazankulu was a "self-governing" territory within South Africa and the Gazankulu flag was flown alongside the South African national flag until the homeland was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994.
The area is now part of the Northern Province. The Gazankulu flag is no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 1 December 1998

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