The name Soshanguve is an abbreviation for Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni, Venda, being the languages spoken at this township.
Initially Soshanguve was known as Mabopane East before the Bophuthatswana bantustan became an independent State in 1977. During 1977 Mabopne West became known as Mabopane and fell under the control of Bophuthatswana homeland while Mabopane East became known as Soshanguve which fell under the Northern Transvaal administration.
Soshanguve was the scene of riots related to poor service delivery in January 2006. It was also home to Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, the Catholic priest, who was banished from Transkei by the apartheid regime until he later became a member of the first post-apartheid parliament (1994) and then mayor of Tshwane. Other well known anti-apartheid activists were Mpho Walter Molema, Thabo Makola, Tamati Matlala and Steven Makena, who were killed during the 1985-1986 Struggle period, after which a State of Emergency was declared by the apartheid Government under PW Botha.
Soshanguve is home to the Tshwane University of Technology, previously known as Technikon Northern Gauteng (TNG).
The second fab lab in South Africa is located in Soshanguve Block TT where it is operated by a self-organized group of unemployed youth known as the Bright Youth Council.
Soshanguve is home to some of South Africa's well known artists, including the popular house music group Black Motion, singer, songwriter and producer Brian Themba (born Brian Themba Makiwane) other musicians from Soshanguve include members of the house music group Uhuru, Black Motion and the late DJ Killer.