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(ĕndəbē`lē) or


(mătəbē`lē), Bantu-speaking people inhabiting Matabeleland North and South, W Zimbabwe. The Ndebele, now numbering close to 2 million, originated as a tribal following in 1823, when Mzilikazi, a general under the Zulu king Shaka, fled with a number of warriors across the Drakensberg Range into present-day NE South Africa. Reinforced by other Zulu deserters, the Ndebele raided as far south as the Orange River, destroying or absorbing the surrounding tribes except for the Ngwato of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), who paid tribute. Driven north (1837) by the Boers and by the Zulus, Mzilikazi crossed the Limpopo River and established his people in Matabeleland, their present homeland. From his successor, Lobengula (1870–94), the British South Africa Company secured (1888) the mineral concession for all of Matabeleland. Restive under the restrictions placed on them by European settlers, the Ndebele attacked the settlers. Lobengula was soon defeated by the British and died in hiding. With the suppression of a revolt in 1896 the Ndebele abandoned war and became herders and farmers.


See D. Carnegie, Among the Matabele (1894, repr. 1970); J. M. Selby, Shaka's Heirs (1971).



a people living in Transvaal Province in the Republic of South Africa. Population, about 300,000 (1970, estimate). The Ndebele language, Isindebele, belongs to the southeastern group of the Bantu language family. Most of the Ndebele adhere to ancient traditional religious beliefs, such as the cults of the powers of nature and of ancestral leaders; some of them are Christians. Their main occupations are livestock raising and farming. Many Ndebele work on farms owned by Europeans, in mines, or in the cities of the Republic of South Africa.


Potekhin, I. I. Formirovanie natsional’noi obshchnosti iuzhno-afrikanskikh bantu. Moscow, 1955.
References in periodicals archive ?
In closing I quote from "The Revolution of the Aged", by Njabulo Ndebele (1980-1981: 2), himself a product of Ekurhuleni: "It is a blind progeny / that acts without indebtedness to the past.
Ndebele describes in graphic detail a dog being beaten to death by a crowd led by Kodwa: the dog has a presentiment of the violence about to be meted out to him.
learn about the art of the South African people, specifically the Ndebele tribe, their colored patterns and symbolic art.
Ndebele uses Greek myth to provide a universal frame for events in South Africa, giving us some distance from the South African chronotope by invoking the story of Penelope, Odysseus' wife, as the woman who stayed faithful to her husband, despite many difficulties and a long separation from him.
They visit the villages where the Zulus and the Ndebeles, who are known for their intricate beadwork, live.
The architecture of the southern Ndebele is rooted in its history and context.
In his address, "The Engaged University: Tackling Equity, Excellence, and Marginalization," Ndebele will explore the challenges of inspiring excellence in education in a society struggling with poverty, AIDS and the aftermath of apartheid.
Chaminuka appears to have been a coward-leader who feared the Ndebele so much that he had to walk all the way from Chitungwiza to Bulawayo at Lobengula's bidding though aware of what awaited him there.
Nyarota cites members of the Ndebele ethnic group who as politicians or academics, were happy to justify the genocide in Matabeleland.
The children were in awe of the geometric designs painted on the Ndebele homes, and readily volunteered to discuss comparisons to their own homes, as well as the similarities and differences in the lifestyles of the Ndebele people compared to their own.
During this encounter with Sheridan, the writer-narrator is initially unambiguously offended, but when Sheridan quotes Njabulo Ndebele, whose articulation of the sanctity of whiteness is powerful, her reactions suggest uneasy ambivalence:
Ndebele wrote these nine essays and published them in journals and magazines during the 1980s, which saw the end of apartheid and the challenges of creating a new future for South Africa.