It was declared self-governing on February 1, 1973. On September 13, 1979 it was declared independent by the South African government and its residents lost their South African citizenship. In common with other Bantustans its independence was not recognised by the international community.
It was a series of non-contiguous territories in the then Transvaal, with one main part and one main exclave and its capital at Sibasa. Its government was temporarily overthrown in 1990 by a popular uprising. It was re-absorbed into South Africa on April 27, 1994.
During its brief period of "independence," Venda had four presidents:
- Chief Patrick Mphephu (September 13, 1979-April 17, 1988; died in office)
- Chief Frank N. Ravele (April 17, 1988-April 5, 1990; deposed in military coup)
- Gabriel Ramushwana (April 5, 1990-January 25, 1994)
- Tshamano G. Ramabulana (January 25, 1994-April 26, 1994; country reincorporated into South Africa)