Naming and Foundation

The name “Vhembe” has been chosen amongst a number of suggested names for the district. Vhembe is a Venda name for what is also known as the Limpopo River. In essence Vhembe means Limpopo River. The name Vhembe symbolizes a fountain of life. This is captured in the Venda legend which says “Vhembe yo alama, yo ela, yo beba vhana vhayo”(Vhembe river has laid wide like an ocean, flowing and giving rise to its children).

Coat of Arms

Baobab Tree

The baobab tree survives under unfavourable climatic condition and therefore symbolises survival, strength, success and the location of the district municipality.

Stone walls

Symbolises the protective role of the ancient stone walls currently found in heritage sites within the district.

The Rhino and Birds

Symbolises power, pride and elegance.

The Blue Stream/Water

Symbolises life and Hope.


  • Green: – Symbolises the vegetation and agricultural potential of the area.
  • Blue: – Symbolises the Sky. (Unlimited possibilities).
  • Black: – Symbolises mutuality.
  • White: – Symbolises purity

Culture and Language

Vhembe comprises of many different cultures. Namely

  • English
  • Afrikaans
  • Venda
  • Tsonga
  • Batlokwa Speakers

These different groups of people have blended distinctive and non-static integrated cultures.


The District Municipality has inherited a number of capitalized infrastructure from different institution. Its current Administration Offices are inherited from the Department of Public Works. These are former Venda Bantustan Parliament Chambers Building at the Government Complex next to Tusk Hotel, Thohoyandou.

The District Municipality has also taken over ownership of large infrastructures developed by both national and provincial governments for the people of Vhembe.

Amongst these are the Nandoni Dam, multipurpose Community Centers, Reservoirs, and Roads etc. Vhembe District spends more than half of its annual budget on Capital Infrastructure Projects. It builds roads, dams, small business enterprises and other similar endeavors.


Vhembe District Municipality is a sphere of Local Governance. It is a constitution third sphere of government after the national and provincial tiers. It derives its mandate primarily from the constitution and enabling acts of parliament and regulations.

It remains an independent sphere of government within the inter and intra governmental context of relations. The district municipality hierarchically exists between provincial governments and local municipalities.

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