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A ''No'' vote for South Africa's tribal ''homelands.''

Bophuthatswana, the homeland Pretoria has designated for Tswana-speaking blacks, held its first general election this week since being classified as ''independent'' nearly five years ago. When a homeland becomes independent, all blacks of that language group are stripped of South African citizenship and made citizens of the new ''state,'' regardless of where they live. Thus, Tswana-speaking people who live outside Bophuthatswana are considered citizens of that homeland. Only 135 Tswana-speaking blacks in Johannesburg and Soweto voted in the election.

The rub? Several hundred thousand blacks in those urban areas are considered residents of Bophuthatswana and were eligible to vote.m

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