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One of the homelands or Bantustans of South Africa, a home for those of the Xhosa people who were not in the larger Xhosa homeland of Transkei. It lay west of the Kei River, and its capital was first Zwelitsha then Bisho.

It was created on 1 January 1969 under chief minister Justice Mabandla. He was replaced in 1973 by Lennox Sebe, who led the country to independence and became its president on 4 December 1981. The independence was not recognized by any country except South Africa and the other independent homelands.

On 4 March 1990 President Sebe was overthrown in a military coup by Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. It continued to be hostile to the ANC, and Gqozo acquired the epithet Butcher of Bisho after his troops opened fire on a peaceful protest in 1992, killing many. Ciskei was handed over to administrators in March 1994, after a police and civil service revolt forced Gqozo to step down. It was dissolved into democratic South Africa on 27 April 1994, like the other homelands.

Its flag was light blue with a white diagonal from upper fly to lower hoist, with on it in black an indwe or blue crane Anthropoides paradisea. (The stripe is invariably depicted much wider than the narrow one officially declared in the Ciskei Flag Act 1977.) The motto was Siyakunqandwa Ziinkwenkwezi 'We will be stopped by the stars'.

The element cis is Latin for 'this side of', as opposed to the more familiar trans.

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