The Ndebele People’s Way of Life and Her Epic Marriage Arrangements

Africa is richly blessed in landscape, culture and tradition, food, sports and fashion. In an original community undefiled by civilization once, stood Mapoch where the Ndebele people lived in an area called Wonderboom, Pretoria.

They lived on a white farmer’s land and the community was sent packing during the 1950s. The Ndebele tribe comes from the Nguni tribe that separated from the Zulus.


When civilization was far from the people, parents found wives for their males. However, the males who are ready for marriage must have passed through the initiation school. The marriage Labola is paid after the initiation rites. The number of cows that the groom’s parents give to the bride’s family is what determines the cost of the bride’s labola. The people perform a “bukhazi” before a bride is sent off for marriage. During the “bukhazi,” she is taught how to be a better wife and her roles as a prospective mother and wife.

Initiation and Ceremonies:

Every four years, the males are taken to a bush for two months and they learn about their history, values, norm, traditional poems, and rituals. The final rite is when the males are circumcised and initiated into manhood. When the men come back from the bush, they are celebrated and the mothers those initiated prepare, paint, and fix their homes for a ceremonious event.

The ladies are not left behind in this initiation schooling. For a period of a month, they are gathered and taught about motherhood. A cow is killed for the ladies after the initiation while a bull is killed for the males to welcome them. The blood of goats is thrown on the ground before a cow can be slaughtered for the initiates.

Mural Painting:

The Ndebele tribe is a special tribe in Africa when it comes to rich and colourful mural painting. From generation to generation and from mothers to their daughters, this art is passed. Every woman paints differently and uniquely according to what they see around them and also how they understand things. These mural paintings are done on the walls. Razor blade drawings are seen in different patterns because razor is used for many things in the community. The Ndebele Women’s fertility is depicted with the “Ndebele Flower.”

When you visit this people, the first thing that draws your attention is the way their homes are painted in natural and muted colours. The black colours are gotten from fire ash, cow dung are used as yellows or browns, and white from their stones. The people mix water and cow dung with pigments and then they apply to their walls. It was when the Indian and western paint pigments were introduced that they started using bright colours.

What do you think of this unique people from South Africa? Each time we read about people like this, we cannot stop wondering how they lived without civilization. Do you like their wedding initations?