Southern Africa Philately

Ciskei Philately - South African Homelands
Stamp Issues 1981 - 1994
First Day Covers - Collectors Sheets - Maximum Cards

By Otto Peetoom


Fort Hare College

Coastal Angling
Small Business - Welding
Historical Background
Ciskei is the scene of the longest large-scale association of Blacks with Whites in Africa south of the Sahara. In 1702 Dutch settlers migrating east from Cape Town met Ciskeian Xhosa Tribes near the Great Fish River.

The Xhosas as well as the Dutch were pastoralists, and stock thefts and boundary disputes resulted in nine frontier wars between 1779 and 1878 - in which the 1820 British Settlers were also involved.

Though Dutch Governor Van Plettenberg declared the Fish River the boundary between the Dutch and the Xhosas in 1788, the subsequent British rulers annexed the whole of the present-day Ciskei.

During the 19th century the territory was fragmented into Black reserves, military settlements, White farms and White-controlled towns. The Ciskeian Chiefs lost all their political and legal sovereignty and became vassals of the British Colonial Government at the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1913, after the formation of the Union of South Africa the reserves were declared inalienable. Provision was made for partial consolidation in 1936, but it was not until 1975, when the Ciskeian Parliament negotiated an exchange of land, that it became possible to consolidate the territory into a single unit.

This A-shaped inland-pointing country of rolling green hills and fertile river valleys is separated from its semi-arid Hewu district on the interior high-lying region by the striking, forest-clad Amatola Mountains.

The Great Fish River forms the western boundary of the territory.
The Keiskamma runs like a blue ribbon down the centre, while eastwards is the Buffalo River, the mouth of which accommodates the port of East London in a tongue of South African territory separating Ciskei from Transkei.
On the coast is a forest-free low-land enjoying copious rains, which is tailor-made for pineapple crops.

Continued in next column


An intermontane plateau with large cattle herds and thousands of tiny maize and sorghum fields constitutes the territory’s traditional heartland and its developmental hub.
On the deeply-incised northern fringes of this plateau, in the foothills of the Amatolas, are a number of fertile river valleys, ideal for irrigation.

Constitutional Development
The ‘new country’ is a natural consequence of the South African policy of political independence and economic interdependence for the subcontinent’s various peoples that has been evolved over the past 20 years.

Though there were abortive earlier efforts to grant self-rule, the first real step towards independence was taken in 1961 with the inauguration of a pyramidal, chief-based form of government, with tribal, regional and territorial authorities.
The first territorial authority only had executive powers, but a Legislative Assembly was constituted in 1972, and in 1973 Dr Sebe (1926 - 1994) won the first one man one vote general election with a 70 per cent plus poll.

During the 1973 - 78 period many opposition members crossed the floor and in 1978 Sebe’s Ciskei National Independence Party scored a landslide victory.
By 1980 Ciskei had become a one-party state.

After studying the report of the prestigious, economically orientated Quail Commission, Ciskei drew up a document entitled Ciskei Independence within the RSA and presented it to the Prime Minister of South Africa.

An important breakthrough was achieved in South African politics when the Ciskeian and South African Governments agreed to enter into a confederal agreement. The agreement was to be signed concomitantly with the attainment of independence.

Bisho, the new capital, was at time under construction on the outskirts of King King William’s Town.

Ciskei Booklet published by INTERSAPA (1979)

4 December 1981


First Day Cover

Non Postal Black gummed MS

Collectors Sheet
4 December 1981 - First Definitives

First Day of Issue on a card
Details of each Bird on the Reverese
Original set of 17 values

Perforation 14
New values
11c (2.4.1984)
12c (1.4.1985)
14c (1.4.1986)
16c (1.4.1987)
18c (3.7.1989)
21c (3.7.1990)

30 April 1982 - Cecilia Makiwane

20 August 1982 - Pineapple Industry

29 October 1982 - Small Mammals

2 February 1983

Indigenous Trees

(1st Series)

13 April 1983

6 July 1983 - Educational Institutions

26 September 1983 - British Military Uniforms (1st Series)

6 January 1984

Indigenous Trees

(2nd Series)

2 April 1984 - 11c New Value
12 April 1984 - Fish Bait

17 August 1984 - Migratory Birds

26 October 1984

British Military Uniforms

(2nd Series)
7 March 1985 - Coastal Angling

1 April 1984 - 12c New Value
3 May 1985 International Youth Year
75th Girl Guides Anniversary

8 August 1985 - Small Businesses

15 November 1985 - Sail Troopships

20 March 1986

Halley’s Comet
1 April 1986 - 14c New Value

12 June 1986

British Military Uniforms
(3rd Series)

1986 Foundation MS & FDC
18 September 1986 - Bicyle Factory

4 December 1986 - Fifth Independence Anniversary

19 March 1987

Edible Mushrooms

1987 Foundation MS & FDC

1 April 1987 - 16c New Value
18 June 1987 - Nkone Cattle

17 September 1987 - Handmade Toys

6 November 1987 - Folklore (1st Series)

17 March 1988

Protected Flowers

1988 Foundation MS & FDC
27 May 1988 - Folklore (2nd Series)
29 September 1988 - Citrus Farming

1 December 1988

Poisonous Fungi

2 March 1989 - Dams

8 June 1989 - Trout Hatcheries

1989 Foundation MS & FDC
3 July 1989 - 18c New Value
21 September 1989 - Folklore (3rd Series)

7 December 1989

Animal Drawn Transport

15 March 1990 - Folklore (4th Series)

14 June 1990

Handmade Carpets

1990 Foundation MS & FDC
3 July 1990 - 21c New Value
6 September 1990 - Ploughs

29 November 1990 - Prickly Pears

7 February 1991


1991 Foundation MS & FDC

11 May 1991 - National Stamp day

1 August 1991 - Second Definities (The Solar System)

Front Cover of the First Day Folder with the Miniature Sheet (Illustrated Below)

First Day of Issue

Miniature Sheet - SG MS201

7 November 1991 - Frontier Forts

19 March 1992

Cloud Formations

4 June 1992 - International Space Year

1992 Foundation MS & FDC
20 August 1992 - Agricultural Implements

5 November 1992 - Ciskei Hotels

19 May 1993 - Famous Navigators

16 July 1993

Cage and
Aviary Birds

1993 Foundation MS

17 September 1993 - Churches and Missions

5 November 1993 - Invader Plants
18 February 1994 - Ship Wrecks

15 April 1994 - Hybrid Roses
The Above only includes the stamp issues and this page is far from complete
First Day Covers, Collectors Sheets and other features will be added

Web design by Otto Peetoom