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QwaQwa History

QwaQwa was a Bantustan, or homeland, in the central eastern part of South Africa. It encompassed a very small region of 655 square kilometres (253 sq mi) in the east of the former South African province of Orange Free State, bordering Lesotho. Its capital was Phuthaditjhaba. It was the designated homeland of more than 180,000 Sesotho-speaking Basotho people. The frequent snow on the Drakensberg mountain peaks led the San to call the region Qwa-Qwa (whiter than white). In Afrikaans it was known as Witsieshoek, after the name of a farm.[1] Two tribes lived in the region, the Bakoena and the Batlokoa. In 1969[1] they were united and the area was named KwaKwa. In the same year the name was changed to QwaQwa to avoid an ethnic identification. On 1 November 1974 QwaQwa was granted "self government", with Kenneth Mopeli as Chief Minister. Mopeli would serve as Chief Minister throughout QwaQwa's existence. After 27 April 1994 QwaQwa was reunited with South Africa, together with the nine other homelands. It is now part of the Free State province, with Phuthaditjhaba serving as the seat of Maluti a Phofung Local Municipality. The municipality also comprises the towns of Harrismith and Clarens. Together they have a combined population of 385 413, of which about 80% lives in the former QwaQwa. The population is divided as follows; 98.09% Black African; White 1.68%; Coloured 0.09% and Asian and/or Indian 0.13%.

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Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.

This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.

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Basotho Cultural Village

A visit to the Basotho Cultural Village which nestles at the foot of huge sandstone mountains, will give you a deeper insight into the lifestyle of the South Sotho from the 16th century to the picturesque present. On arrival at the Cutural Village, a friendly receptionist will show you an introductory video which illustrates the building process of the museum. Demonstrations of the decorations of huts, making of basketware, crushing of maize and traditional dances are shown.

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Sterkfontein Dam

The Sterkfontein Dam, located just outside the town of Harrismith, in the Free State, province of South Africa, is part of the Tugela-Vaal Water Project, and located on the Nuwejaarspruit, a tributary of the Wilge River in the upper catchment area of the Vaal River.