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Venda issued this attractive set of four on 26th February 1982, here on an unaddressed first day cover. They feature the sisal industry.

Sisal is a species of Agave native to southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. It yields a stiff fibre used in making various products.

The sisal fibre is traditionally used for rope and twine, and has many other uses, including paper, cloth, footwear, hats, bags, carpets, and dartboards.

Venda was initially a series of non-contiguous territories in the Transvaal, with one main part and one main exclave. Its capital, formerly at Sibasa, was moved to Thohoyandou (which included the old Sibasa administrative district) when Venda was declared independent in 1979. Prior to independence it was expanded to form one contiguous territory, with a total land area of 6,807 sq km. In the 1984 elections the ruling Venda Independence People's Party lost to the Venda National Party.

At independence in 1973, the population of Venda stood at 200,000 people. The Venda people, just like their Tsonga neighbours in the former Gazankulu, are one of South Africa's minority groups. They currently number 700,000 speakers, while the Tsonga at their doorsteps numbers just 900,000. The state was cut off from neighboring Zimbabwe by the Madimbo corridor, patrolled by South African troops, to the north, and from nearby Mozambique by the Kruger National Park.

The first President of Venda, Patrick Mphephu, was also a Paramount Chief of the Venda people; he was born and lived in Dzanani in Limpopo. His successor, Frank Ravele, was overthrown in a military coup in 1990, after which the territory was ruled by the Council of National Unity. Venda was re-absorbed into South Africa on 27 April 1994.

In 1982, the University of Venda was established as an institution for higher learning for vha-Venda people. Being independent it was possible to set up a casino in the early 1980, staffed mainly by British workers.

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  • Seller location: Auckland City, Auckland, NZ

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