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see NdebeleNdebele
or Matabele
, 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
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(Matebele; self-designation, Amandebele), a people inhabiting southwestern Southern Rhodesia. They are related in language (Isindebele) and culture to the South African Bantu and are closest to the Zulu. The population is approximately 500,000 (1967, estimate). Most Matabele preserve their local traditional beliefs; some are Christians.

In the late 19th century the Matabele put up a heroic resistance in the face of colonial conquest. Their chief occupations are farming and livestock raising. Many Matabele work on ranches and plantations and in mines and factories owned by Europeans; some work in the mines of the Republic of South Africa. The Matabele are taking an active part in the general struggle of the peoples of Southern Rhodesia against the racist colonial regime.


Potekhin, I. I. “Voennaia demokratiia matabele.” In the collection Rodovoe obshchestvo: Etnograficheskie materialy i issledovaniia. Moscow, 1951.
Iablochkov, L. D. “Korennoe naselenie Britanskoi Tsentral’noi Afriki.” Afrikanskii etnograficheskii sbornik, vol. 2. Moscow, 1958.
Davidson, A. B. Matabele i mashona v bor’beprotiv angliiskoi kolonizatsii 1888-1897. Moscow, 1958.
Bullock, C. The Mashona and the Matabele. Cape Town, 1950.




a highland in Southern Rhodesia between the Zambezi, Limpopo, and Sabi rivers. Average elevation, 1,000-1,500 m. Matabele is composed of ancient crystalline rocks. Numerous inselbergs and mountain ridges rise from the slightly undulating surface. The eastern margin of Matabele is uplifted (Inyanga Mountains; elevation, to 2,596 m). The climate is tropical, with humid summers; precipitation is 400-800 mm per year. Soils are brown-red, laterized, and extremely eroded. Sparse forests with Brachystegia and Julbernardia have decreased because of plowing. Gold and chromite, iron and nickel ores, and complex and rare-metal ores are mined.

References in periodicals archive ?
He breaks into his native Matabele and starts to hyperventilate, finally releasing long pent-up regret and grief) HAIKONA
The Second Matabele War was initially successful, with high casualties among the white settlers, but was suppressed by British troops rushed to the region.
As anti-communists had predicted, soon after coming to power Mugabe turned on his former terrorist comrade, Joshua Nkomo, who was of the minority Matabele tribe.
47), and the travellers' route takes them through Inyati, 'the outlying trading station in the Matabele country' (p.
He summarily dismissed the arguments of critics of the move by accusing them of impeding the geographical advance of Christianity and thereby jeopardising human souls: "This kind of logic means that the Matabele, who are supposed to be the sinned against, are to be without the Gospel because Englishmen have sinned in obtaining their land.
Matabele Thompson: An Autobiography (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1936), 124-33.
These nations do not include Tibetans, the Matabele in Zimbabwe, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, the Chechens in Russia or the Tamils in Sri Lanka, all peoples which might easily be described as living under foreign rule.
Bulawayo is in Matabeleland, a stronghold of the opposition and home to the minority Matabele tribe.
Also for sale will be oil paintings by New Orleans artist Rene Ragi and photographs combined with famous quotes by photographer Emerson Matabele of Georgia.
MPs heard yesterday that Mugabe was responsible for the massacre of thousands of Matabele people in the south of the country in the early 1980s and political opponents had continued to be persecuted.
Though he did come to power through an election that, contrary to Chua's assertion, was far from free and fair, Mugabe's first victim was the Matabele tribe.