1. NORTHERN CAPE
372,889 km2 (143,973 sq mi)
On a cold July evening in 1994, the founding fathers of the Rainbow Nation gathered to decide the fate of the southwestern part of the country. They pulled up a map of the Cape Province and drew a line across it. The smaller piece became the Western Cape and they proclaimed the bigger chunk the Northern Province. The most contradictory, perhaps even incongruous fact about the Northern Cape is that while it is the largest province in South Africa, it is also the most sparsely-populated. While the native speakers of Afrikaans comprise a higher percentage of the population in the Northern Cape, the province is home to the Khoisan ethnic group. These are the indigenous people of southwestern Africa who have been living in this region since the 5th century AD. The provincial motto, Sa ||a !aĩsi ‘uĩsi (“We go to a better life”), is in the Nǀu language of the Nǁnǂe (ǂKhomani) people. In their great wisdom, the Rainbow Nation founding fathers went back to the Northern Cape Province when they sought to coin the country’s national motto. Subsequently, !Ke e /xarra //ke, was derived from the extinct Northern Cape ǀXam language.