The Ndebele

The Southern Ndebele people, also known as the amaNdebele, are an ethnic group native to South Africa. Ndebele culture is known for its rich traditions and distinctive art style and symbolic adornment practices, particularly among women
Traditionally, Ndebele women adorned themselves with a variety of ornaments that symbolized their status in society. After marriage, their dresses became increasingly elaborate and spectacular.
One of the most distinctive aspects of Ndebele culture is the use of copper and brass rings, called idzila, to symbolize the bond and faithfulness of a wife to her husband. These rings were believed to have strong ritual powers, and were traditionally worn by Ndebele women on their arms, legs, and neck. Husbands would provide their wives with these rings, with the wealthier husbands providing more rings to their wives. In earlier times, Ndebele women would only remove these rings after the death of their husband.
Ndebele art is known for its aesthetic appeal and cultural significance, and it serves to reinforce the Ndebele’s unique identity. Ndebele artists are skilled at combining external sources of stimulation with traditional design concepts borrowed from their ancestors, resulting in artwork that is both distinctive and culturally significant.
The Southern Ndebele people are a culturally rich and unique group, with a deep connection to their traditions and a strong sense of cultural identity.