bantustan, in 20th-century South African history, territory that was set aside under apartheid for black South Africans and slated for eventual independence. Ten bantustans (later generally referred to as homelands), covering 14% of the country's land, were created from the former “native reserves.” Four were proclaimed independent—Transkei (1976), Bophuthatswana (1977), Venda (1979), and Ciskei (1981)—but no foreign government recognized them as independent nations. Citizens of independent homelands lost the limited rights they had as South Africans. Under the South African constitution that was approved in 1993 and ended white rule, South African citizenship was restored to homeland residents, and the homelands were abolished.
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