North West, province (2011 pop. 3,509,953), 40,495 sq mi (104,882 sq km), N central South Africa. In 1994, under South Africa's post-apartheid constitution, North West was created from parts of the former provinces of Transvaal and Cape Province, as well as most of the former Tswana "homeland" of Bophuthatswana. The province is bounded by Botswana on the north, Limpopo on the northeast, Gauteng on the east, Free State on the south, and Northern Cape on the west.
The capital and largest city is Mahikeng. The province is dry, stretching to the Kalahari desert in the west. Although it is mainly flat, the Magaliesberg mountains rise in the northeast. The Vaal River forms the province's southern boundary.
Mining, the chief economic activity in North West, yields platinum, gold, uranium, granite, marble, and diamonds. Sheep and cattle are raised, and corn, sunflowers, cotton, tobacco, and citrus fruits are grown. Manufacturing produces automotive parts, electrical machinery, and electrical, electronic, and medical equipment. The resorts and casinos of Sun City are also important to the economy. The principal languages are Setswana, Afrikaans, and Xhosa.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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