North West

North West is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Mahikeng. The province is located to the west of the major population centre of Gauteng.

History

North West was created after the end of Apartheid in 1994, and includes parts of the former Transvaal Province and Cape Province, as well as most of the former Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. It was the scene of political violence in Khutsong, Merafong City Local Municipality in 2006 and 2007, after cross-province municipalities were abolished and Merafong Municipality was transferred entirely to North West. Merafong has since been transferred to Gauteng province in 2009.

Geography

Hamerkop Kloof between Rustenburg and Pretoria on north-facing slopes of Magaliesberg

Much of the province consists of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the northeast extends about 130 km (about 80 miles) from Pretoria to Rustenburg. The Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province.

Climate

Temperatures range from 17° to 31 °C (62° to 88 °F) in the summer and from 3° to 21 °C (37° to 70 °F) in the winter. Annual rainfall totals about 360 mm (about 14 in), with almost all of it falling during the summer months, between October and April.

Borders

North West borders the following districts of Botswana:

Kgatleng – far northeast

South-East – northeast

Southern – north

Kgalagadi – northwest

Limpopo – northeast

Gauteng – east

Free State – southeast

Northern Cape – southwest

Economy

The mainstay of the economy of North West Province is mining, which generates more than half of the province’s gross domestic product and provides jobs for a quarter of its workforce. The chief minerals are gold, mined at Orkney and Klerksdorp; uranium, mined at Klerksdorp; platinum, mined at Rustenburg and Brits; and diamonds, mined at Lichtenburg, Christiana, and Bloemhof. The northern and western parts of the province have many sheep farms and cattle and game ranches. The eastern and southern parts are crop-growing regions that produce maize (corn), sunflowers, tobacco, cotton, and citrus fruits. The entertainment and casino complex at Sun City and Lost City also contributes to the provincial economy.

Demographics

The majority of the province’s residents are the Tswana people who speak Tswana. Smaller groups include Afrikaans, Sotho, and Xhosa speaking people. English is spoken primarily as a second language. Most of the population belong to Christian denominations. (Figures according to Census 2001 released in July 2003).

According to the 2007 community survey 90.8% of the province’s population was Black (mostly Tswana-speaking), 7.2% as White (mostly Afrikaans speaking), 1.6% as Coloured and 0.4% as Asian. The 2007 community survey showed the province had a population of just over 3 million. The province’s white population is very unevenly distributed. In the southern and eastern municipalities, the white percentage in double figures such as the Tlokwe and Matlosana where the white percentages were 27% and 12% respectively.

The province has the lowest number of people aged 35 years and older (5.9%) who have received higher education. Since 1994 the number of people receiving higher education has increased. After the disbanding of the bantustans, many people migrated to the economic centres of Cape Town and Gauteng.