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Ndebele, noun

Forms:
Ndabele, 'NdebeleShow more Also Ndabele, 'Ndebele, Ndebeli.
Plurals:
unchanged, amaNdebele, or Ndebeles; occasionally Mandebele.
Origin:
Sotho, seTswanaShow more In the Nguni languages iliNdebele, iNdebele (plural amaNdebele), adaptation of Sotho and seTswana matebele (see Matabele).
1. a. A member of either of two divisions of a people of Nguni descent who, during the 17th century, settled in what was later known as the Transvaal, and who during the 19th century harboured and gave their name to those refugee Nguni people under Mzilikazi’s leadership; Matabele sense 1 a. Often in the plural, with a qualifying word distinguishing this South African people from the Zimbabwean people of the same name (see sense b), as South Ndebele, Southern Ndebele, Southern Transvaal Ndebele, Transvaal Ndebele. b. Matabele sense 1 b. Also attributive.
1872 T.M. Thomas 11 Yrs in Central S. Afr. 153The Amandebele are divided into three divisions...The first class are the Abezansi...These came originally from Natal, with Umzilikazi, and now form the aristocracy of the land. The second class are Abenhla...This class is made up of fragments of Basutu and Bechuana tribes, which were attacked by the chief, Umzilikazi..and incorporated into one body with those who were already his people. These are at present the middle classes of the Amandebele. The other division are the Amaholi...These were the aborigines of the present Amandebele country...These are the lower classes.
1994 D. Matthews in Sunday Times 9 Jan. 11Mrs Mahlangu’s mother insisted she learn traditional Ndebele painting.
2.
a. Sindebele.
1939 N.J. Van Warmelo in A.M. Duggan-Cronin Bantu Tribes III. i. 12The Rhodesian Ndebele are by far the most important, for though the empire founded by Mzilikazi in Matabeleland was overthrown by the British, a modified Nguni language and culture (Ndebele) still flourishes there now, and shows no sign of decay.
1993 Weekend Post 9 Oct. 9If this letter is anything to go by, multilingualism including North and South Sotho,..Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele is out.
b. With a qualifying word, distinguishing each dialect of this language, as spoken in certain areas of South Africa: Northern Transvaal Ndebele, South Ndebele, Southern Transvaal Ndebele.
1952 N.J. Van Warmelo Lang. Map of S. Afr. (Dept of Native Affairs) 11Northern Transvaal Ndebele...This language is mainly spoken in Potgietersrus and Pietersburg districts...A number have emigrated to the Hammanskraal sub-district of Pretoria.
c1988 S. Afr. 1987–8: Off. Yrbk (Bureau for Info.) 68Another Nguni language is South Ndebele with 394 000 speakers living mainly in KwaNdebele in central Transvaal. Though influenced by Northern Sotho (Sepedi),..South Ndebele remains a Nguni language with strong ties with Zulu and Swazi.
A member of either of two divisions of a people of Nguni descent who, during the 17th century, settled in what was later known as the Transvaal, and who during the 19th century harboured and gave their name to those refugee Nguni people under Mzilikazi’s leadership; Matabele1 a. Often in the plural, with a qualifying word distinguishing this South African people from the Zimbabwean people of the same name (see b), as South Ndebele, Southern Ndebele, Southern Transvaal Ndebele, Transvaal Ndebele.
Matabele1 b. Also attributive.
Sindebele.

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18721994