Southern Africa Philately
Venda Philately - South African Homelands
Stamp Issues 1979 - 1994

First Day Covers - Collectors Sheets - Maximum Cards

By Otto Peetoom
Historical Background
Unlike some of the other larger ethnic groups of Southern Africa, the Venda constitutes a well defined homogeneous entity. Before the arrival of the Whites, the Venda led an isolated existence in the fertile Soutpansberg area. They are linguistically related to the Shona tribes of Zimbabwe Rhodesia and the Sotho of the Northern Transvaal. The nation consists of a number of tribes, each under the leadership of an independent tribal chief. The tribal chiefs are related to one another and form a ruling group that has governed for centuries. Incidentally, some of the stone structures in Venda are reminiscent of the Zimbabwe ruins on the Zimbabwe Rhodesian side of the border.

The Venda people were to a large extent self-sufficient in food production and also possessed their own iron industry. Incentives for seeking con¬tact with neighbours, who tended to be hostile, were lacking principally because of the country's precipitous mountainous terrain.

The first white man in the area was Coenraad de Buys, who arrived there around 1815 and established a settlement today known as Mara. In 1836 he was followed by Louis Trichardt, who later trekked to Delagoa Bay. In 1879 the Venda Chiefs first came into contact with a representative of the British Administration when they met Sir Theophilus Shepstone east of Elim.
The South African Republic established a frontier post at Fort Hendrina in 1889. In 1902, after cessation of hostilities between the Boers and the British, a police camp was established at Tshanowa and taxation was then introduced.

A census undertaken in 1904, which was probably not done very thoroughly, revealed a population of 120,000 and in 1931 Stayt estimated the figure at 150000. The 1970 census indicated a population of 358 000 (46% male).

Political Development
The Venda nation comprises 27 tribes under the authority of 27 chiefs, who also represent a number of dynasties. These dynasties have traditionally cooperated with one another and have helped to cement Venda unity.

Continued in next column


Venda Brochure published by INTERSAPA (1979)

The chief of the Mphephu tribe is also the Chief Minister of Venda.
Political development in modern times is characterized by the principle of compromise between traditional authority and Western-type democracy.
A territorial authority was instituted in 1962, and more comprehensive executive powers were granted in 1969. Autonomous government was attained on 1 February 1973. This embodied a 6-member cabinet and a legislative assembly consisting of 60 members, of whom 42 were the traditional leaders and the remaining 18 elected members who could be described as a blend between the traditional and the modern.

The 1973 election aroused great enthusiasm and resulted in a poll of 72% - a high percentage for a country with no previous experience of Western election procedures. Although the Venda Independence People’s Party (VIPP) won the majority of elected seats it lacked traditional support. In 1975 Chief Mphephu won a division in a confidence debate by 34 votes to 19, the Chief representing the hereditary rulers. In the 1978 election the result was much closer under a new constitution providing for 42 nominated and 42 elected members.
The new capital of Venda, Thohoyandou (head of the elephant), is at present under construction.

Geophysical Features
Venda consists of four geophysical units between the latitudes 22° and 24°S and longitudes 29° and 32°E in the north of South Africa. The boundaries are formed by the Limpopo River in the north, with the Kruger National Park in the east, the Levubu River and the Gazankulu self-governing territory in the south-east, the Soutpansberg district in the south-west, and the Messina district in the north-west. Height above sea level varies from 200 to 1900m.

The total area of Venda is more than 630,000 ha at present and the territory is divided into the four districts of Sibasa, Dzanani, Vuwoni and Mutale.
Agriculturally Venda can be divided into three farming regions, namely the cattle-grazing region north of the Soutpansberg, the region on the South-western plateau of the Soutpansberg range used mainly for forestry, and the mixed farming region south of the eastern foothills of the Soutpansberg.
Venda is practically frost-free and has a tropical and sub-tropical climate. Rainfall varies between 350 mm in the Limpopo basin and 500 mm in the eastern part, with a much higher fall in the mountains.

13 September 1979 - Independence

First Day Cover

Collectors Sheet (Folded)

Coat of Arms

Collectors Sheet (Small Folder) opened up

13 September 1979 - First Definitive (Flowers)

Front of First Day Folder

First Day Folder
Original set of 17 values
Perforation 12½

New values
11c (2.4.1984)
12c (1.4.1985)
Both Perforation 14
Perforation 14
(8 Values)

1c - 2c - 3c - 5c
8c - 10c - 25c - 50c
13 February 1980 - Wood Carvings
14 May 1980 - Tea Cultivation
13 August 1980 - Banana Cultivation
13 November 1980

16 February 1981

6 May 1981 - Lakes and Waterfalls
11 September 1981 - Orchids
13 November 1981

Musical Instruments
26 February 1982 - Sisal Cultivation
15 June 1982 - History of Writing (1st Series)
17 September 1982 - Indigenous Trees (1st Series)
26 November 1982

16 February 1983 - Migratory Birds
11 May 1983

History of Writing
(2nd Series)
3 August 1983 - Indigenous Trees (2nd Series)
26 October 1983 - Subtropical Fruit
17 February 1984 - History of Writing (3rd Series)
2 April 1984 - 11c Additional Value
26 April 1984

Migratory Birds
21 June 1984 - Indigenous Trees (3rd Series)
13 September 1984 - Fifth Independence Anniversary
10 January 1985

21 March 1985 - History of Writing (4th Series)
1 April 1985 - 12c Additional Value
21 June 1985

Veld Food
5 September 1985

16 January 1986 - Second Definitives (Reptiles)

First Day of Issue on a card
Details of each Reptile on the Reverese
Additional Values

14c (1.4.1986)
16c (1.4.1987)
18c (3.7.1989)
21c (3.8.1990)
1 April 1986 - 14c Additional Value

10 April 1986

History of Writing
(5th Series)
26 June 1986 - Forestry
4 September 1986 - International Veteran Car Rally

1986 Foundation MS & FDC
8 January 1987

1987 Foundation MS & FDC
1 April 1987 - 16c Additional Value

9 April 1987

Wood Sculptures
2 July 1987 - Freshwater Fish
2 October 1987

Veld Food
(2nd series)
21 January 1988 - Coffee Industry
28 April 1988 - History of Writing (6th Series)
18 August 1988 - 5th Anniversary of Shayandima Nurse’s Training College
6 October 1988 - Local Art - Watercolours

1988 Foundation MS & FDC
5 January 1989 - Traditional Kitchenware
5 April 1989 - Traditional Dances
27 June 1989

Endangered Birds

1989 Foundation MS & FDC
3 July 1989 - 18c Additional Value

13 September 1989 - Tenth Independence Anniversary
1 March 1990

Wildlife Conservation
National Park

1990 Foundation MS & FDC
23 May 1990

History of Writing
(7th Series)

Final Issue
in this series
3 August 1990 - 21c Additional Value

23 August 1990

15 November 1990

7 March 1991 - Birds
6 June 1991
(1st Series)

1991 Foundation MS & FDC
29 August 1991 - Tourist Attractions
21 November 1991 - Indigenous Trees (4th Series)
5 March 1992 - Clothing Factory
21 May 1992 - Bees

1992 Foundation MS & FDC
13 August 1992 - Inventions (2nd Series)
15 October 1992 - Crocodile Farming
19 May 1993 - Domestic Cats
16 July 1993 - Herons
17 September 1993

Shoe Factory
5 November 1993 - Inventions (3rd Series)
14 January 1994 - Dogs
4 March 1994 - Monkeys
29 April 1994 - Starlings
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

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