This article uses a probit model to estimate the determinants of labour force participation and unemployment in South Africa's North-West province. Data from three surveys are used, namely the 1993 Saldru survey, the 1995 CSS (now Statistics SA) survey and a survey conducted in 1997 by the authors. It finds that gender, location (rural or urban), education level, and family structure and relations are significant determinants of unemployment in the province. Because the North-West is a rural province, the results are indicative of the unemployment challenges in South Africa's rural areas. Thus, unless job creation initiatives have a specific rural and gender (female) bias, rural unemployment in South Africa may not be significantly reduced.