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KwaNdbele (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2001-12-21 by jarig bakker
Keywords: south africa | homeland | kwandbele | knobkerrie | axe heads: 4 | oops |
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[KwaNdbele] by Mark Sensen

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KwaNdebele - introduction

Within the "old" South Africa, 10 homelands were created, four of which were granted "independence" by South Africa (not recognised by any other country in the world). These former South African Homelands/bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa.
The flags of the former Homelands are no longer in use (either officially or unofficially).
Bruce Berry, 25 April 1996

Small contiguous territory in Central Transvaal (today's northwesternmost Mpumalanga), briefly bordering Bophutatwana.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999

KwaNdebele was situated north-east of Pretoria and was granted internal self-government on 1 April 1981. The name KwaNdebele means the place or home of the Ndebele, an off-shoot of the Zulu tribe.
Bruce Berry, 1 December 1998

KwaNdebele flag description

The design of the KwaNdebele flag is set out in section 2 of the KwaNdebele Flag Act of 1982, which reads as follows:
"The KwaNdebele Flag shall be a flag consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom of blue, yellow and green on which shall appear in the centre of the yellow stripes a short knobkerrie erect conjoining to four battle axe heads.
The knobkerrie shall be brown, the rear battle axe heads shall be brown and the front battle axe heads shall be grey.
The width of the flag shall be equal to two-thirds of its length.
The length and width of the central charge shall be two-thirds of the yellow stripes".
The blue in the flag was said to represent the colour of the sky and the endlessness of space, thus symbolising the room needed by the Ndebele to fulfil their ideals.
Yellow represented the light and energy of the sun, which is indispensable to life and which also ,lights the way ahead.
Green is the colour of the plants and grass which is a source of food. It also symbolises growth and advancement.
The knobkerrie is a symbol of authority vested in the government to maintain law and order, while the battle axes are symbolic of the struggle for self-determination.
The Act became law on 19 July 1982 and was published in the Official Gazette of KwaNdebele on 6 October 1982.
KwaNdebele was a "self-governing" territory within South Africa and was moving towards full independence when internal unrest during 1986 put a stop to the process. The KwaNdebele flag was flown alongside the South African national flag until the homeland was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994. The area is now part of the Mpumalanga Province and the KwaNdebele flag is no longer in use
Bruce Berry, 1 December 1998

I noticed a glaring error in a note from Bruce Berry. The Ndebele of both Mpumalanga and Northern Province are not offshoots of the Zulu. The abeNguni of Natal (KwaZulu-Natal) can only be referred to as Zulu from the time of Shaka onwards. Before that the Zulu were a very small clan. The Ndebele of the Transvaal region settled in their present homes at least a century before Shaka's kingdom emerged. Although they most likely are offshoots of the Natal Nguni, they predate the Zulu kingdom. These two groups are constantly confused with the Ndebele of Mzilikazi, who was a breakaway from Shaka, and who took in many refugees fleeing from Shaka's reign of terror. An additional reason for this confusion is that during Mzilikazi's early period of kingdom-building, he operated in the regions now called western Mpumalanga and Gauteng, close to the home of the Southern Ndebele. Under pressure from the Voortrekkers he moved first to the Marico district (now in North West Province) and then to Bulawayo.
Mention of abeNguni in Natal and Zulu calls to mind another distinction (now obsolete). When the Colony of Natal was established, only the abeNguni falling into the Zulu kingdom were referred to as Zulu, by either black or white. The Nguni-speakers within the colony referred to themselves by their clan names, not by the name of any larger grouping. The white colonists
referred to them as Kaffirs (a word now avoided, and for good reason). However, when the Nguni language was recorded in Natal by Bishop Colenso, he took to referring to it, and to its speakers, as Zulu. Gradually white colonists began referring to colonial Nguni as Zulu. It took another generation before the colonial Nguni used the term Zulu of themselves. But by then political developments had aroused a great deal of sympathy for the Zulu royal house, because of the way the colonial authorities were treating the king (who at times was even deprived of his title). The result was that whereas the Nguni within Natal (south of the Tugela River) had seen themselves as being beyond the authority of the Zulu kingdom in the 1840s, by the end of the century they were loyal subjects of the Zulu paramount. Without this development, it would not have been possible for the Zulu Bantustan of KwaZulu to incorporate the tribal lands south of the Tugela in the 1960s.
Mike Oettle, 16 Dec 2001

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