The Ndebele Culture In South Africa

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The Ndebele people are a sub sect of many African cultures in Southern Africa, particularly South Africa. Their origins are not defined but the generally accepted origin of their tribe is that 400 years ago they migrated under Chief Muzi from present day KwaZulu-Natal. There are two groups: one found north-east of Johannesburg in the Bronkhorstspruit region; the other in the Limpopo province. The Ndebele people are strongly identified by their striking geometric artwork made of strong vertical and horizontal lines painted all by eye across their homes and villages. The dress of the Ndebele is also unique, from the few beads and bangles worn by young woman, to the elaborate necklaces and large Ndebele shawls which are the same colour as their surrounding houses in their villages. James Neill defines resilience in culture to be the “culture’s capacity to maintain and develop cultural identity and critical knowledge and practices. Despite challenges and difficulties, a resilient culture is capable of maintaining and developing itself.” (James Neill, 2006) The Ndebele culture has certainly managed to maintain itself over the years. Certain cultural practises which existed when the first Ndebele tribes left KwaZulu-Natal are still practised by traditional Ndebele today. Ceremonies such as initiation for males are performed and “bukhazi” is performed for females. Initiation consisted of isolation in the mountains, circumcision and dressing up as woman, so that they may now move

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