Vhembe District Municipality
Location in Limpopo
|• Type||Municipal council|
|• Mayor||S.E. Moeti|
|• Total||25,597 km2 (9,883 sq mi)|
|• Density||51/km2 (130/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||98.2%|
|First languages (2011)|
|• Northern Sotho||1.6%|
|Time zone||SAST (UTC+2)|
Vhembe is one of the 5 districts of Limpopo province of South Africa. It is the northernmost district of the country and shares its northern border with Beitbridge district in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe. Vhembe consist of all terrotories that were part of the former Venda Bantustan, however, two districts of the former Tsonga homeland of Gazankulu, in particular, Hlanganani and Malamulele were also incorporated into Vhembe, hence the ethnic diversity of the District. The seat of Vhembe is Thohoyandou, the former Capital of the former Venda Bantustan. According to 2001 census, 800 000 of Vhembe residents speak Venda as their mother language, 400 000 speak Tsonga and 27 000 speak Northern Sotho. The district code is DC34.
Vhembe was originally settled by now-expired tribes of Khoisan peoples. It was later settled by the Venda people (recently migrated from what is now Matabeleland South in Zimbabwe), who constitute a majority of the population of Vhembe today. Venda communities are only found in Vhembe district and as a result, there are no existing Venda communities or villages outside the district. Vhembe means Limpopo river in the Venda language. Before the renaming of Limpopo Province in 2002, the name Vhembe was submitted to the Limpopo legislature as one of the desired name for the new Province but the majority of the members of the Legislature voted against the name Vhembe in favour of the name Limpopo. The Dzata ruins in Thulamela local municipality once served as the main settlement and capital of the Venda empire which had dominated the area during the 18th century.
Boer settlement of the territory began in the late 18th century and gradually upsurged throughout the 19th century. By the turn of the century, the Soutpansberg was taken by the Boers from the Venda rulers, making it one of the last areas in the future republic of South Africa to come under white rule. During the apartheid era, the bantustan of Venda (declared independent in 1979) was established in the eastern part of the Vhembe area, and was reintegrated into the country in 1994. The former bantustan capital, Thohoyandou (named after a chief that had led the expansion of the Venda empire in the 18th century) is the current capital of the Vhembe district.
On December 11, 2008, Vhembe was declared a disaster zone by the Limpopo government due to the spread of cholera across the Zimbabwean border to the district.
The Vhembe region became the 'Vhembe Biosphere Reserve' in 2009, which was officially declared a biosphere reserve in 2011. The reserve includes the Blouberg Range, the Kruger National Park, the Makgabeng Plateau, the Makuleke Wetlands, the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the Soutpansberg.
The main geographic feature of the district is the Soutpansberg mountains.
Vhembe is surrounded by:
- the republic of Zimbabwe to the north
- Mopani (DC33) to the south
- Capricorn (DC35) to the south-west
- Waterberg (DC36) to the west
The district contains the following local municipalities:
|Local municipality||Population||%||Dominant language|
The following statistics are from the 2001 census.
|Northern Sotho||27 000||2.33%|
|Black African||1 181 672||98.48%|
|000 - 004||138 819||11.57%|
|005 - 009||168 212||14.02%|
|010 - 014||172 151||14.35%|
|015 - 019||158 249||13.19%|
|020 - 024||112 396||9.37%|
|025 - 029||86 070||7.17%|
|030 - 034||66 722||5.56%|
|035 - 039||61 542||5.13%|
|040 - 044||50 114||4.18%|
|045 - 049||39 894||3.32%|
|050 - 054||30 735||2.56%|
|055 - 059||21 051||1.75%|
|060 - 064||20 919||1.74%|
|065 - 069||22 289||1.86%|
|070 - 074||22 201||1.85%|
|075 - 079||11 353||0.95%|
|080 - 084||10 429||0.87%|
|085 - 089||3 682||0.31%|
|090 - 094||1 880||0.16%|
|095 - 099||750||0.06%|
Election results for Vhembe in the South African general election, 2004.
- Population 18 and over: 621 522 [51.80% of total population]
- Total votes: 386 629 [32.22% of total population]
- Voting % estimate: 62.21% votes as a % of population 18 and over
|African National Congress||348 768||90.21%|
|Democratic Alliance||15 553||4.02%|
|United Democratic Movement||5 821||1.51%|
|African Christian Democratic Party||4 687||1.21%|
|Pan African Congress||2 875||0.74%|
|New National Party||2 098||0.54%|
|Azanian People's Organisation||1 767||0.46%|
|Freedom Front Plus||864||0.22%|
|Inkhata Freedom Party||585||0.15%|
|United Christian Democratic Party||469||0.12%|
- "Mayoral/Portfolio Committee". Vhembe District Municipality. Retrieved 1 January 2010.[dead link]
- "Contact list: Executive Mayors". Government Communication & Information System. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Table: Census 2011 by district council, gender, age in 5 year groups and population group". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "Table: Census 2011 by district council, gender, language and population group". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Limpopo declares disaster area, by Independent Online, December 11, 2008 at 07:52AM
- The official launch of the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve
- UNESCO - Biosphere Reserve Information