1. AMANDEBELE OF ZIMBABWE
& SOUTH AFRICA
The name ‘(ama)Ndebele’ is a generic name used to designate three Nguni speaking groups found in South Africa (Southern and Northern (ama)Ndebele) and the Ndebele of Zimbabwe.(Image : South African Ndebeles).
2. I previously did a detailed thread on the Ndebele of Zimbabwe and how the Zimbabwean Ndebele nation was founded by King Mzilikazi Khumalo. There is always confusion on Ndebele identity in Southern Africa. ( Image : Zimbabwean Ndebele traditional leaders).
3. It is believed that amaNdebele of South Africa originate from the ancestral chief, Musi (or Msi). Scholars argue that they migrated from KwaZulu and first became a nation in 1552 under the chieftainship of Mafana who took the northwards route to establish the nation.
4. KwaMnyamana is the most important settlement area of the (ama)Ndebele of South Africa, because it is the place where they split into two main groups & numerous smaller sub-groups.When Musi died in 1630, there was a succession struggle between two of his sons, Manala & Nzunza.
5. King Mzilikazi only left KwaZulu in the 1800s long after the (ama)Ndebele of South Africa were established. When he was still in KwaZulu Mzilikazi belonged to bakwaKhumalo. He acquired the new name ‘Ndebele’ in the then Transvaal when he was on his way northwards.
6. The name ‘Ndebele’ was commonly used to refer to those Nguni speaking people who emigrated from KwaZulu into the former Transvaal in the early 15th century as well as the Zimbabwean (ama)Ndebele who constituted Mzilikazi's nation after he left Zululand in the 1800s.
7. The generic name ‘(ama)Ndebele is a Sotho name that the Sotho people used to designate people of Nguni
origin in reference to their big shields which they skillfully used to avoid penetration during wars with baSotho. The words are ‘maTebele’ (plural) & ‘liTebele’ (singular).
8. In the 1800s King Mzilikazi successfully attacked and invaded amaNdebele of South Africa during his passage through the then Transvaal on his way to north. Many men were captured and incorporated into his armies.
9. This explains why South African Ndebele surnames like Mahlangu, Mabhena, Sikhosana, Mthombeni and Manala are also found among the Ndebele of Zimbabwe. These are the descendants of the amaNdebele of South Africa captured & assimilated by Mzilikazi.
10. Lastly, isiNdebele spoken in South Africa is very different from the Zimbabwean isiNdebele. IsiNdebele spoken in Zimbabwe is closer to isiZulu hence the incorporation of isiZulu books & materials in the Zimbabwean isiNdebele curriculum.
11. For context please check my previous threads : King Shaka's plot to eliminate Mzilikazi, How Mzilikazi became king, Mzilikazi's Kingdom, Ndebele identity ; Who are the Ndebele of Zimbabwe ? & Sivalo Mahlangu.
12. This thread is not exhaustive on the subject. Please feel free to share more, educate and correct where necessary on issues of Ndebele identity in Southern Africa. ( Image : amaNdebele of Zimbabwe).