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n. A former Bantustan in the southeast of South Africa, formed in 1961, declared independent in 1981, and reintegrated in 1993.


Ciskei ( or ) was a nominally independent state - a Bantustan - in the south east of South Africa. It covered an area of , almost entirely surrounded by what was then the Cape Province, and possessed a small coastline along the shore of the Indian Ocean.

Under South Africa's policy of apartheid, land was set aside for black peoples in self-governing territories. Ciskei was designated as one of two homelands or "Bantustans" for Xhosa-speaking people. Ngqika ( Rharhabe) Xhosa people were resettled in the Ciskei, and Gcaleka Xhosa were settled in the Transkei, the other Xhosa homeland.

Ciskei had a succession of capitals during its existence. Originally, Zwelitsha served as the capital with the view that Alice would become the long-term national capital. However, it was Bisho (now spelled Bhisho) that became the capital until Ciskei's reintegration into South Africa.

The name Ciskei means "on this side of the Kei River", and is in contrast to the neighbouring Bantustan of Transkei.

Usage examples of "ciskei".

The centres of support for the PAC were widely scattered across the land, from the eastern tribal areas of the Ciskei and the Transkei to the southern part of the great industrial triangle along the Vaal river, and a thousand miles south of that in the black township of Longa and Nyanga that housed the greater part of the migrant worker force that serviced the mother city of Cape Town.