Definition of Ndebele in US English:

Ndebele

noun

  • 1A member of a people of Zimbabwe and northeastern South Africa.

    See also Matabele
    • ‘The anger of the Ndebeles - who make up roughly 20% of Zimbabwe's 12.7 million people - has reached crisis level.’
    • ‘Even more obviously inspired by their immediate surroundings are the architectural murals of the Ndebele.’
    • ‘Party officials say Karangas and Ndebeles - who form what has been termed ‘the southern axis ‘- feel it is time one of their own came into power.’’
    • ‘Zimbabwe is generally portrayed as made up of two major tribes, the Shona and the Ndebele.’
    • ‘Over the years thousands of Ndebele were violently removed from their actual heartland to be dumped in a virtual wilderness.’
    • ‘In this sense there are important links between urban and homestead murals, most notably with regard to the Ndebele's incorporation of icons of Western culture.’
    • ‘Now we are whites, blacks, coloureds, Asians, Shonas, Ndebeles…’
    • ‘Her influence was so great that she inspired the Shona and the Ndebele, the largest tribes of Zimbabwe, to unite against their common foe.’
    • ‘The Ndebele in the nineteenth century were the first to use the name ‘Shona’ to refer to the peoples they conquered; although the exact meaning of the term is unclear, it was probably derogatory.’
    • ‘To stake their claim to the land, settlers fought and eventually pushed the Shona and Ndebele onto small barren tracts called tribal trust lands.’
    • ‘He was an Ndebele; his forefathers came to this part of the continent in 1820 as refugees fleeing the might and wrath of Shaka Zulu and the Mfecane in South Africa.’
    • ‘He's united the country - white, black, Indian, coloured, Shona, Ndebele.’
    • ‘The Ndebeles consider themselves part of the Zulu nation and would ideally like to break away and form a new country with the Zulus in South Africa.’
    • ‘It is also generally accepted that the president should be a Shona, rather than a Ndebele, a much smaller group.’
    • ‘If they really have finished with the whites - and I don't believe for a moment they have - they'll immediately start again on the Ndebeles.’
  • 2The Bantu language of the Ndebele, with over 1 million speakers. It is one of the official languages of South Africa.

    Also called Sindebele
    • ‘Many of Dorothy's most celebrated songs are in Ndebele, a language much closer to Kwazulu than to Zimbabwe's majority tongue, Shona.’
    • ‘I was lucky that I learnt English and Ndebele pretty much simultaneously.’
    • ‘The official language is English, and there are four indigenous languages - Shona, Ndebele, Venda, and Tonga.’
    • ‘It is a Bantu language closely related to Zulu, Swazi, and Ndebele.’
    • ‘Black Umfolosi sing in both Ndebele and English, and their songs address themes of love, family and God, as well as the contemporary issues of war, apartheid and the environment.’
    • ‘The BBC World Service does not broadcast in Shona and Ndebele and we have no plans to do so; either on our own or in partnership with any other organisation.’
    • ‘As a further mark of its ethnic diversity, South Africa has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, and Sotho.’
    • ‘The least spoken languages were Venda and Ndebele at two percent each.’

adjective

  • Relating to the Ndebele or their language.

    • ‘For example, the Ndebele images of objects such as airplanes, electric pylons, lamp posts, telephones, and Western homes are highly geometricized.’
    • ‘The murals became a highly visible assertion of Ndebele identity.’
    • ‘Smart guides in black tunics and trousers with Ndebele trim, offer assistance with a friendly smile the moment anyone looks lost.’
    • ‘It would be interesting to have had the Ndebele viewpoint as well… interesting stuff.’
    • ‘A more modern African scene makes up the third display - jars, pebbles, plants and bright Ndebele colours.’
    • ‘Mat making and related arts and crafts are popular among the Ndebele, Kalanga, and Nambya people.’
    • ‘A key argument is that modern Ndebele identity was not ethnically exclusive or fundamentalist.’
    • ‘She combines her knowledge of Ndebele tradition with the choice of hues and types of colour readily available to her today.’
    • ‘Here again, one can draw parallels with South African homestead murals, most obviously with Ndebele examples.’
    • ‘The triangular arch at the entrance is painted with the geometric patterns typical of Ndebele art.’
    • ‘Our rallying cry is ‘Sokwanele’ in the Ndebele language and ‘Zvakwana’ in Shona, meaning quite simply ‘Enough is enough’.’
    • ‘It even appears that urban artists on occasion deliberately adopt the flat, outlined Ndebele style to achieve a more ‘African’ look.’
    • ‘The Ndebele women traditionally wore copper and brass rings around their necks arms and legs as a symbol of their status in society and after marriage as a symbol of her bond and faithfulness to her husband.’
    • ‘This marked the birth of the unique musical style and ethos which Mapfumo dubbed chimurenga after the Shona and Ndebele uprisings of 1893 and 1896-97.’
    • ‘Toward the end of the first half of the twentieth century, their identity being threatened, Ndebele women began to paint walls of their houses and yards in colored geometric motifs.’
    • ‘In the alcove of the dormer, we painted, freehand, a pattern inspired by designs that adorn many homes of the South African Ndebele tribe.’
    • ‘Its attractions now included an idealized Ndebele village, complete with ‘tribesmen’ dressed as they did ‘before the advent of the white man.’’
    • ‘Figurative imagery in Ndebele murals is highly stylized, with areas of color delineated by heavy black outlines.’
    • ‘Of real concern is the potential for tribal war between the majority Shona people and the Ndebele tribe.’
    • ‘The Ndebele people, recognized for their skill as military strategists before the arrival of the British, make up about 20 percent of the population.’

Origin

The name in the Nguni languages.

Pronunciation

Ndebele

/ˌəndəˈbēlē/