Ndebele women giving some touristic smiles...
at Pilgrim's Rest, Mpumalanga
The Ndebele are part of the larger Nguni ethnic group. They are thought to have travelled from kwaZulu to the Transvaal region, led by a chief called Musi and settling near Pretoria in about 1600. In the mid-seventeenth century, the nation split over a succession dispute between his two sons, Manala and Ndzundza.
In 1882, following friction with Afrikaner settlers over land and other resources, the Boer leader Piet Joubert led a campaign against the Ndebele leader Nyabela. Nyabela was imprisoned, finally being released in the late 1890s, and many of his people were indentured to white farmers.
During the apartheid era, Nyabela's successor as leader, Cornelius, was forcibly moved with his people to a tribal "homeland" called KwaNdebele, which was given nominal self-government.