Tuesday 5 December 2017

SOUTH AFRICA: Limpompo, Rich In Wildlife, 80% Of South Africa's Game Hunting Industry Is In Limpopo.

Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. It is named after the Limpopo River, which forms the province's western and northern borders.

The name Limpopo has its etymological origin in the Northern Sotho language word diphororo tsa meetse, meaning strong gushing waterfalls. The capital is Polokwane, formerly called Pietersburg.

The province was formed from the northern region of Transvaal Province in 1994, and was initially named Northern Transvaal.

The following year, it was renamed Northern Province, which remained the name until 2003, when it was formally changed to Limpopo after deliberation by the provincial government and amendment of the South African Constitution. An alternate name considered for the province was Mapungubwe.

Limpopo has the highest level of poverty of any South African province, with 78.9% of the population living below the national poverty line.

In 2011, 74.4% of local dwellings were located in a tribal or traditional area, compared to a national average of 27.1%. The Northern Sotho language is spoken by more than half of Limpopo's population.

The population of Limpopo consists of several ethnic groups distinguished by culture, language and race. 97.3% of the population is Black, 2.4% is White, 0.2% is Coloured, and 0.1% is Indian/Asian.

The province has the smallest percentage and second smallest total number of white South Africans in the country. It also has the highest Black percentage out of all the provinces.

The Northern Sotho people of which the Bapedi are a part make up the largest percentage of the black population, being 52% of the province.

The Tsonga people comprise about 24.0% of the province; the Tsonga also comprise about 11.5% of Mpumalanga province since the southern part of their homeland, Gazankulu, was cut off from Limpopo and allocated to Mpumalanga.

The Venda make up about 16.7%. Afrikaners make up the majority of Limpopo's white population, about 95,000 people; English-speaking whites number just over 20,000.

Vhembe district has the smallest share of white people in Limpopo, about 5,000 total, while the Waterberg district has the largest share of whites, with more than 60,000 whites residing there.

Coloureds and Asians/Indians make up a very small percentage of the province's total population.

Limpopo Province shares international borders with districts and provinces of three countries: Botswana's Central and Kgatleng districts to the west and northwest respectively, Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces to the north and northeast respectively, and Mozambique's Gaza Province to the east.

Limpopo is the link between South Africa and countries further afield in sub-Saharan Africa. On its southern edge, from east to west, it shares borders with the South African provinces of Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and North West.

Its border with Gauteng includes that province's Johannesburg-Pretoria axis, the most industrialised metropole on the continent. The province is at the centre of regional, national, and international developing markets.

Limpopo contains much of the Waterberg Biosphere, a massif of approximately 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi) which is the first region in the northern part of South Africa to be named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The massif was shaped by hundreds of millions of years of riverine erosion yielding diverse bluff and butte landforms. The Waterberg ecosystem can be characterised as a dry deciduous forest or Bushveld.

Within the Waterberg, archaeological finds date to the Stone Age. Nearby are early evolutionary finds related to the origin of humans.

The current premier of Limpopo Province is Stanley Mathabatha, representing the African National Congress.

Capricorn District

- Blouberg

- Lepele-Nkumpi

- Molemole

- Polokwane

Mopani District

- Ba-Phalaborwa

- Greater Giyani

- Greater Letaba

- Greater Tzaneen

- Maruleng

Sekhukhune District

- Elias Motsoaledi

- Ephraim Mogale

- Fetakgomo/Greater Tubatse

- Makhuduthamaga

Vhembe District

- Makhado
- Musina

- Collins Chabane

- Thulamela

Waterberg District

- Bela-Bela

- Lephalale

- Modimolle/Mookgopong

- Mogalakwena

- Thabazimbi

The province is a typical developing area, exporting primary products and importing manufactured goods and services. It is also one of the poorest regions of South Africa with a big gap between poor and rich residents, especially in rural areas.

However, Limpopo's economy and standard of living have shown great improvement. A recent border shift with Limpopo's wealthier neighbour, Mpumalanga, was effected to try and bring some wealth into the province.

The bushveld is beef cattle country, where extensive ranching operations are often supplemented by controlled hunting. About 80% of South Africa's game hunting industry is found in Limpopo.

Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated in the Bela-Bela and Modimolle areas. Modimolle is also known for its table grapes.

Tropical fruit, such as bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaws, as well as a variety of nuts, are grown in the Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt areas.

Tzaneen is also at the centre of extensive citrus, tea and coffee plantations, and a major forestry industry.

Limpopo's rich mineral deposits include the platinum group metals, iron ore, chromium, high- and middle-grade coking coal, diamonds, antimony, phosphate, and copper, as well as mineral reserves like gold, emeralds, scheelite, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon, and mica.

Commodities such as black granite, corundum, and feldspar are also found. Mining contributes to over a fifth of the provincial economy.

Limpopo has the largest platinum deposit in South Africa.The Waterberg Coalfield, the eastern extension of Botswana's Mmamabula coalfields, is estimated to contain 40% of South Africa's coal reserves.
Xibelani Dance

The xibelani dance is an indigenous dance of the Tsonga women of the Limpopo province in northern South Africa. The name of the dance comes from the native Xitsonga language and it can translate to hitting to the rhythm, for example the concept xi bela ni vunanga.

The name xibelani typically refers to the dance style while the skirt itself is referred to as tinguvu, however the term xibelani is sometimes used to refer to both the dance and the skirt.

The history of the xibelani dance goes way back into the early coastal times of southern Mozambique from the 1400s or earlier when Mozambican tribes were experimenting with musical instruments and particularly wooden instruments and percussion sounds from traditional drums, xylophones, and marimbas.

The indigenous Chopi people became particularly active in this art and are the documented source concerning the early times of this form of music and dance, the timbila which has been registered in the UNESCO heritage archives as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The dance style in essence requires the dancer to shake the hips in tune with the rhythm but the whole body should be used to guide the movements.

Xibelani dancers usually accompanied the percussion music in addition to hand clapping and whistles. When the mbila or xylophone and swigubu or drum players engaged in an orchestra.

The Tsonga women would follow up with the singing, which was in the form of a call-and-response method, and at intervals the women would take turns to dance in front of the orchestra.

In the xibelani dance the Tsonga women tie a type of African skirt—the xibelani commonly known as tinguvu around their waist and then shake from the waist. The xibelani skirt is designed to make the wearer's hips look bigger, and thereby to emphasize the shaking.

The skirt itself is made from cloth or wool and is customized with a range of colors and designs. The cloth or wool is woven either by hand or by machine and designed in manner that it resembles a skirt.

Modern day xibelani skirts are usually designed for dancing and therefore have a swirl when the hips are shaken. The methodology of its dance style is the typical Caribbean shake, although with a faster rhythm and a more complicated dance routine that is customary for the Tsonga people.

It is customary for Tsonga girls learn the xibelani dance, and it is a way for them to express pride in their cultural heritage.

The xibelani dance is used on occasions such as mkhinyavezo and ku chachula,as well as to accompany other traditional dances such as the makhwaya and mchongolo.

Traditionally women dance the xibelani, while men perform the makhwaya, Xincayinciy or xigubu and on rare occasions participate in the mchongolo.

The Tsonga's perform the xibelani dance to their own distinct music, usually Tsonga disco or Mindzhumbha ya Xitsonga or Xitsonga traditional music and it has become typical for all Tsonga bands to have female xibelani dancers.

The xibelani and tshetsha dances have experienced regained popularity in modern Giyani as the people have embraced their traditional ways.

While the xibelani dance is customary for women, some men now also participate in it, especially when there is a xiseveseve a type of party. In modern society the xibelani dance is regarded as an open dance in which everyone can participate, and it is used both in church as well as in rituals.

Tourism is one of the three pillars of the Limpopo economy along with mining and agribusiness. In 2008, the Province accounted for 5% of all foreign tourist bed nights in South Africa, numbers which are showing strong annual growth.

The R 93 million Provincial tourism budget for 2010/11 represents 11% of Limpopo's total budget.

Near Modjadjiskloof, at Sunland Baobab farms, there is a large Baobab tree which has been fashioned into a rather spacious pub.

The Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism has targeted the province as a preferred eco-tourism destination.

Its Environment and Tourism Programme encompasses tourism, protected areas and community environment development to achieve sustainable economic growth.

While Limpopo is one of South Africa's poorest provinces, it is rich in wildlife, which gives it an edge in attracting tourists. Both the private and public sectors are investing in tourism development.

The Limpopo River rises in central southern Africa, and flows generally eastwards to the Indian Ocean. The term Limpopo is the modified version of the original Sepedi name diphororo tsa meetse, meaning gushing strong waterfalls.

The river is approximately 1,750 kilometres (1,087 mi) long, with a drainage basin 415,000 square kilometres (160,200 sq mi) in size. The mean discharge measured over a year is 170 m3/s (6,200 cu ft/s) at its mouth.

The Limpopo is the second largest river in Africa that drains to the Indian Ocean, after the Zambezi River.

The first European to sight the river was Vasco da Gama, who anchored off its mouth in 1498 and named it Espiritu Santo River. Its lower course was explored by St Vincent Whitshed Erskine in 1868–69, and Captain J F Elton travelled down its middle course in 1870.

The Limpopo River flows in a great arc, first zigzagging north and then north-east, then turning east and finally south-east. It serves as a border for about 640 kilometres (398 mi), separating South Africa to the southeast from Botswana to the northwest and Zimbabwe to the north.

Two of its tributaries, the Marico River and the Crocodile River join, at which point the name changes to Limpopo River. There are several rapids as the river falls off Southern Africa's inland escarpment.

The Notwane River is a major tributary of the Limpopo, rising on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and flowing in a north-easterly direction.

The main tributary of the Limpopo, the Olifants River (Elephant River), contributes around 1,233 million m3 of water per year. Other major tributaries include the Shashe River, Mzingwane River, Crocodile River, Mwenezi River and Luvuvhu River.

In the north-eastern corner of South Africa the river borders the Kruger National Park.

The port town of Xai-Xai, Mozambique is on the river near the mouth. Below the Olifants, the river is permanently navigable to the sea, though a sandbar prevents access by large ships except at high tide.

The waters of the Limpopo flow sluggishly, with considerable silt content. Rainfall is seasonal and unreliable: in dry years, the upper parts of the river flow for 40 days or less.

The upper part of the drainage basin, in the Kalahari Desert, is arid but conditions become less arid further downriver. The next reaches drain the Waterberg Massif, a biome of semi-deciduous forest and low-density human population.

About 14 million people live in the Limpopo basin. The fertile lowlands support a denser population. Flooding during the rainy season is an occasional problem in the lower reaches. During February 2000 heavy rainfalls due to a cyclone caused the catastrophic 2000 Mozambique flood.

The highest concentration of hippopotamus in the Limpopo River is found between the Mokolo and the Mogalakwena Rivers.

There is a lot of mining activity in the Limpopo River basin with about 1,900 mines, not counting about 1,700 abandoned mines.

However, there has been human habitation in the region since time immemorial — sites in the Makapans Valley near Mokopane contain Australopithecus fossils from 3.5 million years ago.

St Vincent Whitshed Erskine, later Surveyor General for South Africa, was the first European to travel down the length of the Limpopo river to its mouth in 1868.

A Zambezi shark was caught hundreds of kilometres upriver at the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers in July 1950. Zambezi sharks tolerate fresh water and can travel far up the Limpopo.

In 2013, approximately 15,000 crocodiles were released into the Limpopo River from flood gates at the nearby Rakwena Crocodile Farm.

The province has excellent road, rail, and air links. The N1 route from Johannesburg, which extends the length of the province, is the busiest overland route in Africa in terms of cross-border trade in raw materials and beneficiated goods.

The port of Durban, South Africa’s busiest, is served directly by the province, as are the ports of Richards Bay and Maputo. Polokwane International Airport is situated just north of Polokwane.

The Department of Education is charged with the responsibility of effecting quality education and training for all. The Department has to coordinate all professional development and support. Policies, systems, and procedures had to be developed.

Educational institutions found in Limpompo

- University of Limpopo (Polokwane, Ga-Rankuwa)

- University of Venda (Thohoyandou)
Polokwane was one of South Africa's host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with matches being played at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Limpopo has no provincial rugby team of its own; it is represented in the domestic Currie Cup by the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls. The Blue Bulls also operate a Super Rugby franchise, known simply as the Bulls.

Limpopo nonetheless produces its share of top players. Most notably, the two most-capped forwards in the history of the country's national team, John Smit and Victor Matfield, are both natives of Polokwane.

The province is home to Limpopo Pride, a professional team that plays in South Africa's top basketball division, the Basketball National League.

Limpopo has a fairly high incidence of HIV compared to other South African provinces. Cases rose from 14.5% to 21.5% between 2001 and 2005, with a slight fall between 2005 and 2007.

Tourism Observer

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