OStudioPost Culture Corner with the Ndebele Heritage


Ndebele & Esther Mahlangu Ndebele woman

The Ndebele tribe also regarded as the AmaNdebele or the Matabele form part of four major ethnic divisions among Black South Africans .The Nguni represent nearly two thirds of South Africa’s Black population and can be divided into four distinct groups; the Northern and Central Nguni (the Zulu-speaking peoples), the Southern Nguni (the Xhosa-speaking peoples), the Swazi people from Swaziland and adjacent areas and the Ndebele people of the Northern Province and Mpumalanga. The majority of the Ndebele tribe relocated to Zimbabwe wile others stayed in South Africa in an area that came to be renowned as the Kwandebele.

Ndebele woman painting her house.

Quick facts about Ndebele Tradition.

  1. The southern Africa Ndebele tribal groups are not only separated by geographical location but also differ in their language and cultural practices.
  2. Ndebele culture has a strong patriarchal attitude as the Ndebele communities practices polygamy with women according lots of respect to their men and particularly their parents in law.
  3. The Ndebele practice right of passage & initiation ceremonies such as the male initiation to mark the childhood right of passage.
  4. The Ndebele also have a girls initiation procedure in which isikhethu is enunciated through decorative beads and clothing. This takes place during purity.
  5. The culture is exhibited from relationship to their beliefs and practices.
  6. The Ndebele have been known to decorate their homes with great designs and finger painting.
  7. An Ndebele woman has an attire for her status in the society.
  8. The major dishes are made from corn and other ingredients. They also eat different kinds of wild fruits like umviyo etc.

Ndebele Boys Returning from Initiation School, South Africa

Source : Buzz South Africa




About Author

Matshepo is a Junior Journalist at OStudio Post.

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