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Bantustan or Bantustans is the name that was given to the tribal homelands of South African native black Africans by the white Apartheid rulers of the Republic of South Africa that were designated to become independent states under a grand plan called "Separate Development[?]" which would have granted independence to blacks in these newly created tribal states. Bantu means "people" in the dialects of Southern Africa. There were to be about ten Bantustan-Homelands.

The founders of the Apartheid philosophy pushed the idea of Bantustans vigorously, but they never gained the recognition of the international community, and were mostly despised by South Africa's Blacks. They were unpopular because their boundaries were drawn to exclude economically valuable land, and part of the plan of separate development was to have blacks become citizens of the new territories, thereby losing what few rights and privileges they had as citizens of South Africa.

The first Bantustan that became operational was Transkei under the leadership of Chief Kaiser Matanzima[?] in the Cape Province for the Xhosa nation. Perhaps the best known one was KwaZulu[?] for the Zulu nation in Natal Province, headed my a member of the Zulu royal family Chief Gatsha Buthelezi[?] in the name of the Zulu king.

Another well known Bantustan was Bophuthatswana of the Tswana people, headed by Chief Lucas Mangope[?]. (Not to be confused with Botswana , the former Bechuanaland that was established by Great Britain).

In all there were ten Bantustans. Four of them were nominally independent (Bophuthatswana, Ciskei[?], Transkei and Venda[?]). The other six had certain forms of self-government. These were: Gazankulu[?], Kangwane[?], KwaNdebele[?], KwaZulu, Lebowa[?] and QwaQwa.

With the demise of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and the end of exclusive White rule, the Bantustans - Homelands were dismantled as the country was constitutionally redivided into new provincial governments.

The word Bantustan has become something of a pejorative when describing a country or region that lacks any real legitimacy or power, viewed as a form of national or international gerrymandering.

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