QwaQwa was a bantustan ("homeland") in the central eastern part of South Africa . It encompassed a very small region of 655 square kilometers (253 sq mi) in the east of the former South African province of Oranje Free State, bordering Lesotho. Its capital was Phuthaditjhaba. It was the designated homeland of more than 180,000 Sesotho-speaking Basotho people.
The frequent snow on the Drakensberg mountain peaks led the San to call the region Qwa-Qwa (whiter than white). In Afrikaans it was known as Witsieshoek, after the name of a farm.
Two tribes lived in the region, the Bakoena and the Batlokoa. In 1969 they were united and the area was named KwaKwa. In the same year the name was changed to QwaQwa to avoid an ethnic identification.
On 1 November 1974 QwaQwa was granted "self government", with Kenneth Mopelii as Chief Minister. Mopeli would serve as Chief Minister throughout QwaQwa's existence.
After 27 April 1994 QwaQwa was reunited with South Africa, together with the nine other homelands. It is now part of the Free state province, with Phuthaditjhaba serving as the seat of Maluti a Phofung Local Municipality.
The municipality also comprises the towns of Harrismith and Clarens. Together they have a combined population of 385 413, of which about 80% lives in the former QwaQwa. The population is divided as follows; 98.09% Black African; White 1.68%; Coloured 0.09% and Asian and/or Indian 0.13%.