Friday, 21 August 2020

The Ndau People Of Zimbabwe

THE NDAU PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE








1. The Ndau people are one of the most unique ethnic groups in Zimbabwe with a complex history that is often misconstrued or subdued in other peoples' history. The Ndau language is unique, rich & exotic.

2. Prominent politician, cleric & author of the first Ndebele novel 'Umvukela wamaNdebele' /'The Ndebele Uprising', Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole was of Ndau origin.

3. The Ndau are an ethnic group that inhabits the areas in south-eastern Zimbabwe in the districts of Chipinge & Chimanimani in which they are natives. They are also found in parts of Bikita, in the Zambezi valley, in central Mozambique all the way to the coast & in central Malawi.
Ndau
4. There are various propositions on the meaning of the word 'Ndau'. Some say its a derivation from the people's traditional salutation "Ndau wee!" in greetings and other social settings. Others say it means 'land, the place or the country' in Ndau language.

5. Some, however,  suggest that the name is derived from the Nguni words "Amading'indawo" which means "those looking for a place" which the Nguni used to refer to the Ndau. This is debatable as the Nguni found the Ndau in their permanent place of habitation.

6. Some historians have gone further to suggest that there is a  possibility that the ancient Ndau is one of the first ancestral tribes of the Ngunis, similarly to the Mthethwas, Lala, and Debe who are descendants of the Thonga-Tekelas.

7. The last proposition is that the Ndau people are descendants of ancient Mozambican warriors who intermarried with the local population. These warriors are said to have been involved in trade with the San and the Arab people.

8. The five largest Ndau groups are the Magova; the Mashanga; the Vatomboti, the Madanda and the Teve. Some people say the Ndau revere a lion as their totem hence Ndau is equivalent to Dawu/ Tau/Sibanda /Shumba.
Ndau
9. There is evidence that the ancient Ndau people met with the Khoi/San during the first trade with the Arabs at Mapungubwe. They traded with Arabs with 'mpalu', 'njeti'& 'vukotlo': red, white and blue coloured cloths & golden beads, herbs, spiritual powers, animal skins & bones.

10. It is believed that the Ndau language & culture has been influenced by their living alongside the Shona people, in particular, the Manyika.

11. Furthermore, the Mfecane period also had a greater impact on Ndau language, customs & culture.

12. Due to the conquests by the Ngunis in the 1820s, a lot of the Ndau ancestry evolved to include the Nguni bloodline and ancestry. This is evident in the wealth of Nguni words in the Ndau language, Nguni names, and surnames. The Ndau were subjugated by Nxaba & Soshangane.

13. During Mfecane, the Nguni armies particularly the (Zulu, Swazi, Ndwandwe, Khumalo & Ndebele) migrated to Mozambique. One Nguni chief, Nxaba, established a short-lived kingdom inland from Sofala, but in 1837 he was defeated by Soshangane, a powerful Nguni rival.

14. Soshangane established the Gaza-kingdom with his capital in the highlands of the middle Save River in the Zimbabwe plateau spreading to southern Mozambique. He subjugated many of the Ndau people who were already living in that area.
Ndau
15. Soshangane and his Nguni armies overran and incorporated the Tsonga, Shongonono, Ngomane, Portuguese, Hlengwe, Nyai, Rhonga, Shona, Senga, Chopi as well as the Ndau tribes in a new nation with the people collectively called Shangani.

16. This explains why the modern-day Ndau-Shangani are largely identified by Nguni surnames like Semwayo, Simango, Thabethe, Sibiya, Dliwayo, Dube, Makuyana, Ndlukula, Mlambo, Mthethwa, Thodlana, Mhlanga, Nxumalo Hlatshwayo & Sithole.

17. In Limpopo, South Africa there is a village called Govhu at Malamulele which is composed entirely of Shangani clans such as Sithole, Miyambo, Simango, Moyana & Mashaba many of whom also have Ndau roots in addition to the Nguni roots from where they derive their names.

18. The Soshangane kingdom collapsed in 1895 when it was under Ngungunyane. The Ndau forged ahead as a distinct people who had now incorporated Nguni language, customs & culture. The Ndau language is recognized in the Zimbabwean constitution & is not a dialect of Shona or Ndebele.


19. SOURCES
- Identity consciousness among the Ndau people in Zimbabwe: unraveling mysteries, misconceptions, and justifications: Emmanuel Sithole


-Living with a Tyrant: Ndau Memories and Identities in the Shadow of Ngungunyane : Elizabeth  MacGonagle.
. - Ndau identity in Mozambique-Zimbabwe Borderland: Marta Patricio
-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ndau_people
- Is Ndau a dialect of Shona? : Emmanuel Sithole
-Shona Dialects: Ndau Dialect Status: Emmanuel Sithole

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