North West

North West

Bokone Bophirima(Tswana) ┬áProvince is bordered by Botswana in the north and is fringed by the Kalahari desert in the west, Gauteng to the east, and the Free State to the south. It is known as the “Platinum Province”, owing to its wealth of this precious metal. The province has a population of 3,2 million people who mainly speak Setswana. Mahikeng (previously Mafeking) is the capital,well-known for the famous siege which took place in October 1899 during the Anglo-Boer/South African War.

The mainstay of the economy of Bokone Bophirima 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.


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 Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. The capital is Mafikeng (it means ‘The place of rocks’).

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

It was in the North West Province, in 1838, where General Potgieter settled after he defeated the armies of Mzilikazi at Kapain and Mosega. Some ancestors of these people still live in the North West.

Mafikeng was in the main stream of South African history during the early years of the Anglo-Boer War when the Boer trapped the British soldiers in the town for 7 months (from 1899 until May 1900) before they were rescued.

The three oldest towns in the old Transvaal are all located in the North West Province, being Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp and Rustenburg.

Klerksdorp in the North West province lies well within the influence of the meteorite impact 2028 million years ago in the Free-State Province. Therefore Goudkoppie is the direct result of the meteorite: 7 minutes after it crashed to the earth to create the world-famed Vredefort Dome near Parys in the Free-State Province.

The country was finally reincorporated into the North West Province under the new dispensation of the new Republic of South Africa in 1994