South Ndebele people
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|The women of Loopspruit Cultural Village, near Bronkhorstspruit, in front of a traditionally-painted Ndebele dwelling.|
|703,906 (2001 Census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces
in South Africa
|Related ethnic groups|
The Ndebele are part of the larger Nguni ethnic group. They are thought to have travelled from Natal to the Transvaal region, led by a chief called Musi and settling near Pretoria in about 1600. In the mid-seventeenth century, the nation split over a succession dispute between his two sons, Manala and Ndzundza.
In 1882, following friction with Voortrekker settlers over land and other resources, the Boer leader Piet Joubert led a campaign against the Ndebele leader Nyabela. Nyabela was imprisoned, finally being released in the late 1890s, and many of his people were indentured to white farmers.
People with the last name Ndebele are considered royal.
The Ndebele people speak Southern Ndebele (usually called Ndebele, although not to be confused with Northern Ndebele). It is one of the eleven official languages in South Africa, and the least widely-spoken.
In the 16th century, Portuguese settlers introduced brightly colored glass beads that would later be used by the Ndebele people to create garments, jewelry, blankets and headwear for both daily and ceremonial use. Traditionally, geometric beadwork is used to denote the sacred spaces within the home.
- Birmingham Museum of Art (2010). Birmingham Museum of Art : guide to the collection. [Birmingham, Ala]: Birmingham Museum of Art. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-904832-77-5.
- Ndebele: The art of an African tribe, 1986. Margaret Courtney-Clarke, London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28387-7
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