The Ndebele Nation

Reflections on Hegemony, Memory & Historiography

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni



Scholarship on the South African kingdom of the Ndebele of Zimbabwe which was promising in the 1960s and 1970s was overtaken and overshadowed by research into Shona history in the 1980s. Since then no major study has appeared on Ndebele pre-colonial history and this book is the first of its kind to delve deeper into pertinent issues of state formation, nation-building, style of governance, hegemony, memory and the idea of a Ndebele 'nation' rather than a 'tribe'.


A richly nuanced historical portrait of the pre-colonial Ndebele political and social life is provided. This book makes a bold challenge to the mythology of Ndebele `exceptionalism' that was used by colonialists to justify their colonial mission.


Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is Research professor and Director of Scholarship in the Department of Leadership and Transformation (DLT) in the Principal and Vice-Chancellor's Office at the University of South Africa.