Attn Matabele


First Grader
Hey Mata, was wondering if you could tell me what the difference was between Matabele, Ndebele and Sindebele

and yes this is a fair dinkum question, someone asked me years ago and I had no idea.
UFO Hunter
They are all zimbabwian tribes. Im think some happen to be different names used by different people for the same tribe. Could be wrong though.
Journey Man
Sorry - I haven't been here in ages!

The three terms are interchangeable. They are used to describe the tribe that inhabits the South western areas of Zimbabwe and the Northern part of South Africa. They are also used to describe the language that they speak. There's no hard and fast rules for which one has to be used when.

Sindebelee is not often used though. I think it might be the Zulu description of Ndebele. The Ndebele's splintered off from the Zulus under Shaka's (also known as Chaka) reign when a general called Mzilikazi kept some of the spoils of war for himself.

He set up in the area that is now Pretoria and "Ndebele" means "Long shield" because he adapted his shield to be longer than the Zulus, but kept the broad blade stabbing assegai that was wreaking havoc on the Xhosa and other tribes. Shaka's men finally caught up with Mzilikazi and Mzilikazi spanked their tails and sent them back to the Durban area.

Eventually the boers turned up and cordite won out over the assegai. Mzilikazi took his tribe north and settled near modern day Bulawayo, near the magical Matopos Hills. Bulawayo means "the place of killing" and Thabus Indunas or "the hill of chiefs" is where Mzilikazi dealt with a traiterous group by pushing them off the cliffs and letting the vultures deal with them

The Matabele are still in that area today and slowly being starved to death by the Mugabe regime which represents the Shona tribe. It's pretty much systematic genocide. Ndebele and Zulu are very similar languages in the same way as Dutch and Afrikaans. They can understand each other but they both think their language is the purer of the two.

There you go. Now you're swatted up on Southern African tribal history.


First Grader
Thanks for that.

Yeah I knew the basics, as in Mzilikazi doing a runner from the Zulus and kicking butt when they came after him.

I suppose the Matabele kicked the shona around when they got there so now its payback time. thats the problem when voting is along tribal lines, the bigger tribe is always going to win out and if the smaller one is the warlike oppressive ones then look out when the tables are turned.

Similar in Kenya a few years back and even rwanda recnetly
Journey Man
The Matabele would be more numerous than the Shona except that they settled on both sides of the Limpopo River and of course a dirty great big border line runs along that (and a big field of land mines, but that's another story).

So they're the minority tribe in both Zim and Sth Africa sadly.

Colonialism - don't you love it?


First Grader
ah yes the old white surveyors drawing up borders along rivers and the like with no thought as to tribal lines was a fun way to do things.

all part of bringing "civilisation" to the masses I guess
Journey Man
Not really Fluff. The local "brew" is made from millet and is almost porridge like in consistency. Around 1-2% alcohol tops and actually very nutritious. In the main the local brew is preferred to imported lagers. There's no endemic alcoholism.

Some of the half castes in South Africa are infamous for drinking metho. They've coloured it purple over there so people know what others are drinking but it doesn't seem to stop anything.

There's a bit of dope smoking but not much, though there is one tribe that have always used it and are given legal dispensation to continue the use. They're the most useless bunch of creatures you're ever likely to see. BaTonka tribe. :roll:
Journey Man
Byso, form what I've seen of those blokes I wouldn't be surprised to see their chieftan sitting around in the dust playing with Tonka toys whilst sucking off a bong.

That's pretty much the mentality they've arrived at after generations of hitting the dope.

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