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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 ?
And indeed, it was part and parcel of the interaction between the settlers and the indigenous Shona and Ndebele people.
The extent to which the African populous cherished their heroes was particularly demonstrated in Matabeleland, and in Bulawayo where the names bestowed on African townships and infrastructure such as schools reflected an awareness of the cultural heritage of the Ndebele people, hence:
In the sixteenth century, the southern Ndebele were a splinter group which broke away from the southward migration of the Nguni people who went on to establish the Zulu empire.
Ndebele homesteads also function as part of the ritual process of the rites of passage.
The emergence of a distinct Ndebele identity has its origins as a result of the Ndebele defeat at the hands of the Boers in 1883, the resultant dislocation of the tribe, their subsequent indenture, protracted slavery and restrictions on their movement.
Home to the Ndebele is not a house in the Western sense, it is the greater extent of the landholding of which the courtyards, the detached huts of the settlement, the cattle byre, chicken runs and cultivated fields are all perceived as one.
Narratives are also full of the author's feelings of hatred or anger against the Whites and the Ndebeles to whom he attributes his ancestors' suffering.
No mention whatsoever is made in his novels about the contributions of the Ndebeles, the Manyikas, the Shangaan and the Ndaus in the first liberation struggle in this country.
The Ndebeles had been engaged in a war against the British as early as 1893 and both the Ndebele and the Shona in another anti-imperialist war in 1896, but his fiction pays minimal attention to the contributions of the Ndebeles in these struggles as if they had no significant bearing whatsoever on Zimbabwean history.
Throughout his narratives, the Ndebele and the White colonialists are placed on equal terms as the worst enemies of the people, the Shona and Mutsvairo appears to be conscientizing the Shona against the ills perpetrated on their ancestors by them.
Where was Britain when Ndebele were being butchered?
Where was the mainstream of the Tory party when Ndebele were being butchered?