Southern Africa Philately
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Transkei Philately - South African Homelands
Stamp Issues 1976 - 1994
First Day Covers - Collectors Sheets - Maximum Cards
By Otto Peetoom
Historical Background
Xhosa-speaking Nguni tribes began to settle in what is now Southern Natal and Transkei from about 1500 and around 1700 these tribes began to cross into the good grazing country west of the Kei River. By 1775 the Western Xhosas had reached the Fish River while the Eastern Xhosas occupied the western part of the present Transkei with the Tembu, Panda and smaller tribes further to the East in the same territory.


Clashes over land resulted between the white settlers and the African tribes. Finally by various measures passed in the Cape Parliament between 1866 and 1894, the Ciskei (Ruled as a separate Crown colony) and Transkei were both brought administratively under British Colonial Rule.

Constitutional Development
As a result of the 1894 ‘Glen Grey Act’ a system of local councils grouped under a district council was established in that area and subsequently extended to the districts across the Kei where thirteen district councils were amalgamated to form the Transkei Territories General Council in 1903.
This General Council had been functioning fairly successfully for many years when the Natives Land Act of 1913 was passed by the Union Parliament providing that the Transkei Territories should be inalienably reserved for Black occupation and ownership. Similar general councils were established for West Pondoland in 1911 and for East Pondoland in 1927. By 1932 all three bodies had been amalgamated as the United Transkei Territories General Council, usually referred to as the Bunga at Umtata.

The Bunga was empowered to advise the South African administering authorities on various matters as well as to exercise certain limited executive and legislative powers.

With this background of political and administrative experience it was only natural that Transkei should have taken the lead in the movement of South Africa’s Black Homelands towards Independence in terms of the policy of separate development.

The basic shortcomings of the Bunga system were that most responsibilities still rested on the shoulders of White officials (Magistrates). Blacks had no real opportunity of administering their own affairs and their law and custom were often not taken into account.

Between 1955 and 1959, however, the full range of tribal, regional and Territorial authorities provided for in the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 was established in Transkei and in 1963 Transkei was granted internal Self-Government by the South African Parliament. The Transkei Constitution Act passed in that year provided for the establishment of a unicameral legislature and a cabinet. It also made provision for Transkei to have its own Flag and National Anthem, its own Official language and Citizenship.

The passing of the Transkei Constitution Act was an event of great significance in the history of the Black peoples of South Africa. It was tangible evidence of the results of the policy of promoting Black political independence initiated in 1951 and carried a step further in 1959 by the passing of the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act.


A General election to fill the then 45 seats for elected members in the Transkei Legislative Assembly was held in November 1963 on the basis of Universal Adult Suffrage. Subsequent elections were held in 1968 and 1973.

Chiefs are an essential element in the traditional political and social system of Transkei. Most Transkeians consider it necessary that the Chiefs should play their part in the highest legislative body of the new state.
By vote of the Legislative Assembly, Paramount Chief Kaiser Matanzima became Chief Minister of Transkei in 1963.

In March 1974 Chief Minister Matanzima moved in the Legislative Assembly that the Republican Government be requested to grant full Independence to Transkei within five years, claiming that in the 1973 election the electorate had given his Transkei National Independence Party a mandate to this effect.
The opposition being the Democratic Party and represented in the Transkeian Legislature by 11 members demanded a referendum on the Independence issue but the Chief Minister’s motion was adopted by a majority vote.

Continued in next column

 

Subsequently, on 10 September 1974, the South African Prime Minister stated in the House, after discussions with the Chief Minister, that the Government was in favour of granting inde-pendence to Transkei, and that a joint working committee of experts from the Republic of South Africa and Transkei would prepare constitutional proposals for submission to a Recess Committee of the Transkei Legislative Assembly consisting of members of all parties represented in the Transkei Legislative Assembly and a Joint Cabinet Committee comprising the Prime Minister of South Africa, the Chief Minister of Transkei, the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development and the Minister of Justice. This Committee also reports periodically to the Joint Cabinet Committee on other matters incidental to the Independence of Transkei.

The new state will be called the Republic of Transkei. The new constitution, the introduction of which will be preceded by an election, is expected to provide for a president as ceremonial head of the state. His assent will validate legislation passed by the Transkeian Parliament.


Geographical Description
Transkei, the traditional homeland of most of the Xhosa-speaking peoples, is a fertile, well-watered territory between the Kei River separating it from the Cape Province on the south-west and the Umtamvuna dividing it from Natal on the northeast with the Indian Ocean coastline and the Drakensberg range as its other natural boundaries.

In political terms, its neighbours are the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho and, since the recent incorporation of the Glen Grey and Herschel districts, its total area amounts to about 43,000 square kilometres, i.e. a country about the same size as Denmark or Switzerland and considerably larger than Belgium or the Netherlands. As compared with most countries on the African continent, Transkei may seem small, but it is actually more than twice the size of Swaziland and considerably larger than Lesotho, Burundi and Rwanda. All of which are independent states and members of the United Nations Organization.

The climate is mild and temperate, moderately humid, with sufficient rain in summer and dry winters. No part of the land gets on the average less than 500 mm of rain a year making possible the successful cultivation of a large variety of crops ranging from subtropical products on the coast to those common to the temperate regions of the globe in the interior. At present Transkei is essentially an agricultural country with a largely undeveloped potential.

Source
Transkei Booklet published by INTESAPA (1976)

 
26 October 1976 - Independence

Non Postal Black gummed MS

Transkei Coat of Arms on the front cover of a brochure mentioned below
The Black Print Miniature Sheet
Described in the December 1976 edition of The South African Philatelist and a note reads...It is understood that these sheets were not sold but are inserted in the glossy illustrated brochure presented by the Transkei Post Office. It is also presented with standing orders for stamps and stationery...

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

Collectors Sheet (Small Folder) opened up
26 October 1976 - First Definitives
Perforation 12 x 12½
Control Strips of five - Cylinder No’s
1c
2c


3c
4c
22 - 26
27 - 31
115
32 - 37
38 - 41
113 - 114

5c
6c
7c
8c
9c
10c

42 - 46
48 - 53
54 - 59
60 - 64 67
65 - 69
70 - 75
Control Strips of five - Cylinder No’s
15c
20c
25c
30c
76 - 80 117
82 - 87
89 - 92 81
93 - 96 116

50c
R1
R2

97 - 102 88
109 - 113 118
103 - 108

First Day of Issue
The above card is presented in a plastic sleeve with the Arms of Transkei
Reprints - Control Strips of five - Cylinder No’s
1c
2c

3c
4c
4c
5c

145 - 149
150 - 155
156 - 161
167 - 172
188 - 193
162 - 166

Reported in
The South African Philatelist
December 1977 (2c/3c/4c)

Second 4c dated 1978-03-01
5c dated 1978-08-21
Prior to the first issues of Transkei stamps, an announcement appeared in the June 1976 issue of The South African Philatelist (SAP) and the Independence stamps plus the new definitives were illustrated in the September SAP. In October these issues were described in detail and in the same edition T. Berry presented an interesting article on Transkei Philately providing an overall view of Transkei (past and present) Berry also noted the names of the various Post Offices and Agencies in the Territory.

In conclusion Berry wrote...The elevation of the Transkei to a self-governing independent state will have far-reaching philatelic influences. The Transkei will, in due course, be included as a stamp issuing country in the philatelic catalogues of the world, but its main influence will be felt nearer home.

Continued in next column

  A new field of philately will be opened for local philatelists to direct their attention - the postal material emanating from an adjacent and interesting neighbour, once a ‘resident’ of South Africa.
This philatelic aspect has already become apparent in that official and other announcements have been made of the Transkei’s forthcoming independent and definitive first day issues.
But the immediate, and perhaps the more important aspects, are the South African stamps and material cancelled prior to independence.
These cancelled stamps will overnight assume catalogue status as South Africa ‘used abroad’ in a similar manner to that of Basutoland, Swaziland and South West Africa. It is thus the object of this dissertation to bring to the notice of philatelists a field of philately sadly neglected in the past, and to request assistance for the completion of this record so as to make it as complete as possible for posterity
...
 
11 February 1977

Transkei Airways
Inaugural Flight
Umtata to Johannesburg

Return
Johannesburg to Umtata

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
16 May 1977

Medicinal Plants

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
26 October 1977

First Anniversary of Transkei Radio

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
18 November 1977

Help for the Blind

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
1 March 1978 - Carved Pipes

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
9 June 1978 - Weaving Industry

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
25 September 1978

Edibale Wild Fruits

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

30 November 1978

Care for Cripples


Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
30 January 1979 - Abakwetha Initiation Ceremonies

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
20 February 1979

Inauguration of
Second State President
K.D. Matanzima

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
13 March 1979 - Water Resources

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
4 September 1979
Waterfalls

First Day Cover
3 December 1979

Health Education

Child Care

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
15 January 1980 Fishing Flies
(1st series)

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Cover)

Collectors Sheet (Inside)
22 February 1980

75th Anniversary of
c

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
30 April 1980

Cycads

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
30 July 1980

Birds

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

First Day Cover
29 October 1980 - Tourism

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)
15 January 1981
Fishing Flies (2nd series)



Full Pane of 25 - Designs se-tenant

Collectors Sheet

First Day Cover
From this issue the format of the Collectors Sheet was
changed from a small folded unit to a single sheet.
On the reverse of each sheet there is information about the Issue similar to that found on the inset in each First Day envelope


However the Collectors Sheet offers additional details not included on the FDC insets
(See above)
15 April 1981

Medicinal Plants

First Day Cover

Medicinal Plants - Collectors Sheet

Xhosa Headdresses - Collectors Sheet
28 August 1981 - Xhosa Women’s Headdresses

First Day Cover

Miniature Sheet

First Day Cover
26 October 1981
Fifth Anniversary of Independence

First Day Cover

5th Anniversary of Independence - Collectors Sheet

1982 Fishing Flies - Collectors Sheet
6 January 1982 - Fishing Flies (3rd Series)

First Day Cover

14 May 1982

75th Anniversary
of Boy Scouts


First Day Cover

75th Anniversary of Boy Scouts - Collectors Sheet

1982 Celebrities of Medicine - Collectors Sheet

5 October 1982

Celebrities of Medicine
(1st Series)


First Day Cover
10 November 1982 - Centenary of Umtata

First Day Cover

1982 Umtata Centenary - Collectors Sheet

1983 Fishing Flies - Collectors Sheet
2 March 1983 - Fishing Flies (4th Series)

First Day Cover
25 May 1983 - Mzamba Holiday Complex

First Day Cover

1983 Mzamba Holiday Resort - Collectors Sheet

1983 Celebrities of Medicine - Collectors Sheet

17 August 1983

Celebrities of Medicine
(2nd Series)


First Day Cover
9 November 1983 - Transkei Post Offices (1st Series)
This was the first issue which featured Maximum Cards

First Day Cover

1983 Transkei Post Offices - Collectors Sheet

1984 Fishing Flies - Collectors Sheet
10 February 1984 - Fishing Flies (5th Series)

First Day Cover
11 May 1984 - Transkei Post Offices (2nd Series)
1984 11c Additional Value for
Second Definitive set - Issued seperately

First Day Cover
6 July 1984 Xhosa Culture - Second Definitives

Issued 2.4.1984

Issued 1.4.1985

Issued 1.4.1986

Issued 1.4.1987

Issued 3.7.1990
6 July 1984
17 values on a card cancelled on the day of issue Housed in an envelope with an illustration as depicted below

1984 Transkei Post Offices - Collectors Sheet

1984 Celebrities of Medicine - Collectors Sheet (Last issue of these sheets)

12 October 1984

Celebrities of Medicine
(3rd Series)


First Day Cover
7 February 1985 - Soil Conservation

First Day Cover

First Day Cover
1 April 1985
12c New Value Definitive
18 April 1985 - Bridges

First Day Cover
25 July 1985 - Match Industry at Butterworth

First Day Cover

20 September 1985

Celebrities of Medicine
(4th Series)


First Day Cover
6 February 1986 - Historic Port St Johns

First Day Cover


Miniature Sheet

MS - First Day Cover
1 April 1986
14c New Value Definitive

First Day Cover

1 May 1986

Aloes


First Day Cover

First Day Cover


1986 Philatelic Foundation MS
24 July 1986 - Hydro-electric Power Stations

First Day Cover
26 October 1986 - Tenth Anniversary of Independence

First Day Cover
5 February 1987 - Tenth Anniversary of Transkei Airways

First Day Cover

First Day Cover
1 April 1987
16c New Value Definitive

22 May 1987

Transkei Beadwork


First Day Cover

1987 Philatelic Foundation MS

First Day Cover

27 August 1987

Spiders


First Day Cover
22 October 1987 - Domestic Animals

First Day Cover

18 February 1988

Seaweed


First Day Cover
5 May 1988 - Blanket Factory in Butterworth

First Day Cover
4 August 1988 - 206th Anniversary of Grosvenor Shipwreck

First Day Cover

1988 Philatelic Foundation MS

First Day Cover
20 October 1988 - Endangered Animals

First Day Cover
19 January 1989

Trains

First Day Cover

First Day Cover

1989 Philatelic Foundation MS
20 April 1989 - Basketry

First Day Cover

20 July 1989 - Seafood

First Day Cover

5 October 1989 - Trees

First Day Cover

18 January 1990 - Plant Fossils (1st ‘Fossil’ Series)

First Day Cover

29 March 1990

Celebrities of Medicine
(5th Series)


First Day Cover

28 June 1990

Diviners


First Day Cover


1990 Philatelic Foundation MS

First Day Cover

First Day Cover

3 July 1990
21c New Value Definitive

20 September 1990

Flowers


First Day Cover

10 January 1991

Parasitic Plants


First Day Cover

14 April 1991 - Dolphins

First Day Cover

20 June 1991

Endangered Birds


First Day Cover


First Day Cover

1991 Philatelic Foundation MS

26 September 1991

Celebrities of Medicine
(6th Series)


First Day Cover

20 February 1992

Orchids


First Day Cover

1 April 1992 - Celebrities of Medicine (7th Series)

First Day Cover

16 July 1992

Waterfowl


First Day Cover


1992 Philatelic Foundation MS

First Day Cover

17 September 1992 - Marine Fossils (2nd ‘Fossil’ Series)

First Day Cover

12 February 1993 - Dogs

First Day Cover


1993 Philatelic Foundation MS
18 June 1993 - Prehistoric Animals (3rd ‘Fossil’ Series)

First Day Cover

20 August 1993 - Celebrities of Medicine (8th Series)

First Day Cover

20 August 1993

Doves


First Day Cover


Miniature Sheet

Miniature Sheet - First Day Cover

18 March 1994 - Shipwrecks

Miniature Sheet
All Transkei First Day covers have a inset with
information about the stamp and cover design.

This last 'Shipwrecks' issue has no inset and the information is printed on the reverse of the envelope
Transkei Stamp Issues - A Review
From October 1976 to March 1994 in 17½ years they issued
Two definitive sets with 17 + 22 values = 39 stamps
Commemorative stamps total 71 sets (277 stamps), two MS (8 stamps)
plus nine Foundation MS (9 stamps) making a grand total of 333 stamps.
The above is an average of 19 stamps per year

First Day covers

An envelope for all Commemorative issues including the MS
A card for the two Definitives housed in a plastic sleeve and an envelope
Seperate envelopes for the added values of the 2nd Definitive 12c, 14c, 16c & 21c

Collectors Sheets
A total of 19 folded versions plus 15 single sheets (34 in total)

Maximum Cards
Forty sets of Commemoratives plus one for the 1984 11c definitive (113 cards)
Maximum Cards
1983 - Transkei Post Offices (1st Series)
This was the first issue which featured Maximum Cards
Each card has a number on the reverese
Highest No 113 (1992 Orchids)
From No’s 1 to 61 their size is 147 x 104 mm
From No’s 62 to 113 the size is reduced to 142 x 95 mm
Maximum Cards No 1 - 4
1984 11c Additional Value for Second Definitive set - Issued seperately
Maximum Card
No 5

CTO UMTATA 2 IV 84
1984 - Transkei Post Offices (2nd Series)
Maximum Cards No 6 - 9
1984 Heroes of Medicine (3rd Series)
Maximum Cards No 10 - 13
1985 - Soil Conservation
Maximum Cards No 14 - 17
1985 - Bridges
Starting from this Issue an illustration of the Commemorative Postmark appeared on the reverse of certain cards
Maximum Cards No 18 - 21
1985 - Match Industry at Butterworth
Maximum Cards No 22 - 25
1985 - Celebrities of Medicine (4th Series)
Maximum Cards No 26 - 29
Commemorative Cancel
Used on
Match Industry
Issue
Commemorative Cancel
Used on
Port St Johns
Issue
1986 - Historic Port St Johns
Maximum Cards No 30 - 33

Commemorative Cancel
Used on all four Maxi Cards
Maximum Cards No 34 - 37
1986 - Aloes
1986 - Hydro-electric Power Stations
Maximum Cards No 38 - 41
Commemorative Cancels
Used on Hydro-electric Issue
UMTATA on 14c & 20c
NCORA on 25c
IDUTYWA on 30c
1986 - Tenth Anniversary of Independence
Commemorative Cancel used on all four cards
Maximum Cards No 42 - 45
1987 - Tenth Anniversary of Transkei Airways
Maximum Cards No 46 - 49
1987
Transkei Beadwork



Commemorative Cancel
used on all four cards
Maximum Cards No 50 - 53
1987 - Spiders
Maximum Cards No 54 - 57
1987 Transkei Airways
1987 Spiders
1987 Domestic Animals
1987 - Domestic Animals
Maximum Cards No 58 - 61
1988 - Seaweed
From No’s 62 to 113 the size of card is reduced to 142 x 95 mm
It is much thinner, less robust and not as good quality as before
Maximum Cards No 62 - 65
Commemorative Cancel
Used on
Seaweed
Issue
Commemorative Cancel
Used on
Blanket Factory
Issue
The above were the last Commemorative cancels illustrated on the reverse of the Maxi cards
1988 - Blanket Factory in Butterworth
Maximum Cards No 66 - 69
1988 - Anniversary of Grosvenor Shipwreck
Maximum Cards No 70 - 73
1988 - Endangered Animals
Maximum Cards No 74 - 77
Maximum Cards No 78 - 81
1989
Trains
1989 - Basketry
Maximum Cards No 82 - 85
1989 - Seafood
Maximum Cards No 86 - 89
Maximum Cards No 90 - 93
1989
Trees
1990
Diviners
Maximum Cards No 94 - 97
1990
Flowers
Maximum Cards No 98 - 101
1991
Parasitic Plants
Maximum Cards No 102 - 105
1991
Endangered Birds

Maximum Cards No 106 - 109
1992
Orchids
Maximum Cards No 110 - 113

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