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Bantustan or Bantustans is the name that was given to the tribal homelands of South African native black Africans by the white Apartheid rulers of the Republic of South Africa that were designated to become independent states under a grand plan called "Separate Development" which would have granted independence to blacks in these newly created tribal states. Bantu means "people" in the Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa. There were to be about ten Bantustan-Homelands. These small, quasi-sovereign nations were established under the 1951 Bantu Authorities Act.

The founders and implementers of the Apartheid doctrine pushed the idea of Bantustans vigorously, but they never gained the recognition of the international community, and were mostly despised by South Africa's Blacks. They were unpopular because of a number of reasons:

The white government had exempted 13% of its territory from white settlement, and transformed this fraction into regions of black home-rule. Then they tried to bestow independence on these regions (the "homelands"), claiming that the other 87% was white territory. The black South Africans were divided (often incorrectly) into ethnic groups which were assigned certain homelands. The motivation for the establishment of these states was to take away the few rights that black South Africans had in South Africa, by making them nationals of the homelands. In the majority of these transfers of citizenship, the individuals assigned to homelands did not live in or originate from the small areas which the homelands encompassed.

The first Bantustan that became operational was the Transkei under the leadership of Chief Kaiser Matanzima in the Cape Province for the Xhosa nation. Perhaps the best known one was KwaZulu for the Zulu nation in Natal Province, headed by a member of the Zulu royal family Chief Gatsha Buthelezi in the name of the Zulu king.

Another well known Bantustan was Bophuthatswana of the Tswana people, headed by Chief Lucas Mangope. (Not to be confused with Botswana, the former Bechuanaland that was established by Great Britain.)

In all there were ten Bantustans. Four of them were nominally independent (Bophuthatswana, the Ciskei, the Transkei and Venda). The other six had certain forms of self-government. These were: Gazankulu, KaNgwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa and QwaQwa.

Of note is also the way the borders for these territories were drawn. They were broken up into numerous enclaves, and the boundaries between these were very convoluted, in fact, the South African embassy to Bophuthatswana had to be moved because it turned out that it was accidentally built in South Africa.

Lesotho and Swaziland were not bantustans, but are internationally recognized independent countries, and are former British posessions.

With the demise of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and the end of exclusive White rule, the Bantustans were dismantled as the country was constitutionally redivided into new provincial governments.

The word Bantustan has become something of a pejorative when describing a country or region that lacks any real legitimacy or power, viewed as a form of national or international gerrymandering.

During the 1980s, these pseudonations, particularly the Transkei and Bophuthatswana, became centers for casino gambling, which was illegal at the time in South Africa. The Sun City mega-resort is a result of this.