Ndebele History

The Ndebele are direct descendants of the AmaHlubi of Zululand. The Hlubi (or amaHlubi) are a South African ethnic group who originate from the Samburu people of Kenya and the Shubi, an ethnic and linguistic group based in the Kagera Region of Tanzania.

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hlubi_people).

“The Southern African Ndebele are an eMbo ethnic group native to South Africa who speak Southern Ndebele, which is distinct both from the “Northern Transvaal Ndebele” languages, usually known as SiNrebele or SiSumayela, as well as the Zimbabwean Ndebele language. The former are the people of Gegana (Mthombeni) and the latter are the people of Mzilikazi’s “MatabeleEmpire”, whereas Southern Ndebele people are those of Ndzundza and Manala. Although sharing the same name, they should not be confused with (Mzilikazi’s) Northern Ndebele people of modern Zimbabwe, a breakaway from the Zulu nation, with whom they came into contact only after Mfecane. Northern Ndebele people speak the Ndebele language.[1] Mzilikazi’s Khumalo clan (later called the Ndebele) have a different history (see Zimbabwean Ndebele language) and their language is more similar to Zulu and Xhosa.[2] Southern Ndebele mainly inhabit the provinces of Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo, all of which are in the northeast of the country.”

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Ndebele_people)

The three Ndebele groups found in Africa speak similar but distinct dialects of Ndebele. Please see below table describing the different facets.

Description Northern Transvaal NdebeleSouthern Ndebele peopleNorthern Ndebele (Zimbabwean Ndebele)
People of…Gegana (Mthombeni)Ndzundza and ManalaMzilikazi's "MatabeleEmpire"
Language SiNrebele or SiSumayelaSouthern NdebeleZimbabwean Ndebele language
Location LimpopoMpumalanga & GautengZimbabwe
Other NotesThe Northern Transvaal Ndebele Language is not written and does not form part of the 11 official RSA languagesSwati influenced(Mzilikazi's) Northern Ndebele people of modern Zimbabwe, a breakaway from the Zulu nation, with whom they came into contact only after Mfecane