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Lebowa (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2015-05-26 by bruce berry
Keywords: south africa | homeland | lebowa | bantustan | sunburst |
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image by Martin Grieve, 21 Dec 2006  See also:

Lebowa - 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

Lebowa was located in the central part of the northern Transvaal, with two main compactly shaped parts (in today's Limpopo Province), and one small uncompact enclave (in today's Mpumalanga) and small border tracts with Gazankulu.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999

Lebowa previously comprised 11 pieces of territory. There is currently a dispute over one area which was part of Lebowa (Bushbuck Ridge) and is now part of the Northern Province. Residents want to be incorporated into Mpumalanga despite a Constitutional Court ruling against them.
Bruce Berry, 31 May 1999

The name "Lebowa" means north, and thus by implication the home of the northern Sotho people - in contrast to Lesotho and QwaQwa which is the home of the southern Sotho. Lebowa was granted internal self-government on 2 October 1972.
Bruce Berry, 01 Dec 1998

Lebowa flag

The design of the Lebowa flag is set out in section 2 of the Lebowa Flag Act of 1974, which reads as follows:
"The Lebowa flag shall be a flag consisting of three horizontal stripes blue, white and green, in the proportions one, two and one, the white stripe charged with a semi-sun with nine rays in gold.
The width of the Lebowa flag shall be equal to two-thirds of its length".
The blue in the Lebowa flag is light blue and alludes to the infinite sky and the need for development and progress. The green represents the land and the sunburst symbolises the dawning of a new day for the Sotho nation.

This flag is a simplification of an earlier proposal in which the full coat of arms would have appeared in colour on a broad white stripe below an orange sunburst that overlapped a blue horizontal stripe running along the top of the flag. A green stripe of the same width would have filled the bottom of the proposed flag. This proposed design is illustrated on the cover of The Flag Bulletin, XIII, 6, November/December 1974.

The flag was formally taken into use on 05 July 1974.

The flag was last used on 26 April 1994 after which Lebowa was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994 and now forms part of the Limpopo Province.
Bruce Berry, 01 Dec 1998

Lebowa Police flag

image by Jens Pattke, 20 Jan 2013

The flag of the Lebowa Police was designed by the South African Bureau of Heraldry and submitted to the Lebowa Commissioner of Police for consideration on 27 August 1991. It comprises a green field with the national flag of Lebowa in the canton, fimbriated in white, occupying one quarter the length of the field.  In the lower fly is the badge of the Lebowa Police, promulgated in Force Order (General) No. 09/90 dated 08 May 1990. The badge comprises a fourteen-pointed facetted star in gold bearing in the centre on a white roundel the Arms of Lebowa in full colour, within a gold annulet bearing in black letters the words LEBOWA below and POLISIE, MAPHODISA and POLICE clockwise in a semi-circle above.

image by Jens Pattke, 20 Jan 2013

Lebowa was reincorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994 and the Lebowa Police was subsequently amalgamated with the South African Police Service, following which this flag is no longer used.
Bruce Berry, 20 Jan 2013

Lebowa Coat of Arms

scan by Bruce Berry, 07 July 2007

By Government Notice No. 1599, published in the South African Government Gazette (Number 3644 of 08 September 1972) it was notified that a coat of arms had been registered for the Lebowa Legislative Assembly in terms of the South African Heraldry Act (Act No. 18 of 1962).  Although application and registration was made in terms of the Heraldry Act (Government Notice 1599 in Government Gazette 3644 of 08 September 1972), the State Herald did not issue a formal certificate of registration in respect of these arms as they had been devised without consultation of the Bureau of Heraldry.


The blazon of the coat of arms is described as:


Arms:  Quarterly, first and fourth, Azure goutté d'eau, a chief nebuly Argent; second, Or, a bull's head caboshed proper; third, Or, a mealie-head leaved erect proper.
Crest:  A flame proper.
Wreath:  Argent and Azure.
Supporters:  Two leopards proper.
Compartment:  On a mount thereon two flowered aloe plants, the sinister in autumn shades, proper.
Motto:  MPHIRI O TEE GA O LLE (One bracelet alone cannot make a noise or sound).


With the re-incorporation of Lebowa into South Africa on 27 April 1994, these arms are no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 07 July 2007