|Regions with significant populations|
|Malawi: 758,000, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique|
|Tumbuka, Ngoni, Chewa, Zulu, Nsenga, Venda Ndendeule, English, Portuguese|
|Christianity, African Traditional Religion, Sangoma, Islam|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Nguni (especially Zulu)|
The Ngoni people are an ethnic group living in the present-day Southern African countries of Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The Ngoni trace their origins to the Nguni and Zulu people of kwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The displacement of the Ngoni people in the great scattering following the Zulu wars had repercussions in social reorganization as far north as Malawi and Zambia.
The rise of the Zulu nation to dominance in southern Africa in the early nineteenth century (~1815–~1840) disrupted many traditional alliances. Around 1817, the Mthethwa alliance, which included the Zulu clan, came into conflict with the Ndwandwe alliance, which included the Nguni people from what is now kwaZulu-Natal. One of the military commanders of the army of king Thunziani Mabaso The Great, Zwangendaba Gumbi (c. 1780–1848), was the head of the Jele or Gumbi clan, which itself formed part of the larger emaNcwangeni alliance in what is now north-east kwaZulu-Natal. In 1819, the Zulu army under Mabaso defeated the Ndwandwe alliance at a battle on the Mhlathuze River, near Nkandla. The battle resulted in the diaspora of many indigenous groups in southern Africa.
In the following decades, Zwangendaba led a small group of his followers north through Mozambique and Zimbabwe to the region around the Viphya Plateau.In this region, present-day Zambia (Chipata district), Malawi (Mzimba, Ntcheu and Karonga district) and Tanzania (Matema district), he established a state, using Zulu warfare techniques to conquer and integrate local peoples.
The date on which Zwengandaba's party crossed the Zambezi river, sometimes given in early writings as 1825, has been argued to have been on 20 November 1835.
Following Zwangendaba's death in 1848, succession disputes split the Ngoni people. Zwangendaba's following and the Maseko Ngoni eventually created seven substantial Ngoni kingdoms in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi.
While the Ngoni were primarily agriculturalists, cattle were their main goal for raiding expeditions and migrations northward. Their reputation as refugees escaping Shaka is easily overstated; it is thought that no more than 1,000 Ngoni crossed the Zambezi river in the 1830s. They raided north, taking women in marriage and men into their fighting regiments. Their prestige became so great that by 1921, in Nyasaland alone, 245,833 people claimed membership as Ngoni although few spoke the Zulu dialect called Ngoni. The Ngoni integrated conquered subjects into their warfare and organization, becoming more a ruling class than an ethnic group, and by 1906 few individuals were of pure Ngoni descent. Only after Ngoni status began to decline did the tribal consciousness of the component groups began to rise, along with their reported numbers. In the early 1930s the Ngonde, Nyasa, Tonga and other groups once again claimed their original tribal status.[ citation needed ]
While the Ngoni have generally retained a distinct identity in the post-colonial states in which they live, integration and acculturation has led to them adopting local languages; nowadays the Zulu language is used only for a few ritual praise poems and songs.
Mpezeni (also spelt Mpeseni) was the warrior-king of one of the largest Ngoni groups, based in what is now the Chipata District of Zambia, and was courted by the Portuguese and British. The British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes sent agents to obtain a treaty— Alfred Sharpe in 1889, and Joseph Maloney in 1895, who were both unsuccessful.
In 1897, with over 4,000 warriors, Mpezeni rose up against the British, who were taking control of Nyasaland and North-Eastern Rhodesia, and was defeated. Mpezeni signed the treaty which allowed him to rule as Paramount Chief of the Ngoni in Zambia's Eastern Province and Malawi's Mchinji district. His successors as chief take the title Paramount Chief Mpezeni to this day.
The cruelty and ruthlessness of Mpezeni's raids can be understood from this account written by a British hunter who came across a Chewa village a few hours after a raid in 1897:
On my arrival I found the male population all under arms, and the women crying. A raiding party of Mpezeni’s people had attacked them suddenly that morning. Ten women were killed in the gardens and twenty-two were taken away as prisoners. An old man and one of the headman’s children had been severely wounded. Their entrails hung out of frightfully torn wounds, inflicted most likely by barbed spears. It was a pitiful sight — the groans of the wounded, the women crying over their dead, whose bodies were brought from the gardens, the men standing about helplessly and depressed. As the raiding party could not have been far off, I proposed to the men to follow them up at once, and try to release the prisoners, but they were disheartened by the misfortune that so suddenly had overtaken them. [ excessive quote ] The Ngoni people celebrate a festival of first fruits known as Nc'wala in late February at Mutenguleni about 25km from Chipata.
The History of Malawi covers the area of present-day Malawi. The region was once part of the Maravi Empire. In colonial times, the territory was ruled by the British, under whose control it was known first as British Central Africa and later Nyasaland. It became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The country achieved full independence, as Malawi, in 1964. After independence, Malawi was ruled as a one-party state under Hastings Banda until 1994.
The Mfecane, also known by the Sesotho names Difaqane or Lifaqane is a historical period of heightened military conflict and migration associated with state formation and expansion in Southern Africa. The exact range of dates that comprise the Mfecane varies between sources. At its broadest the period lasted from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century CE, but scholarship often focuses on an intensive period from the 1810s to the 1840s. The concept first emerged in the 1830s and blamed the disruption on the actions of Shaka Zulu, who was alleged to have waged near-genocidal wars that depopulated the land and sparked a chain reaction of violence as fleeing groups sought to conquer new lands. Since the later half of the 20th century this interpretation has fallen out of favor among scholars due to a lack of historical evidence.
The Tumbuka is an ethnic group found in Northern Malawi, Eastern Zambia and Southern Tanzania. Tumbuka is classified as a part of the Bantu language family, and with origins in a geographic region between the Dwangwa River to the south, the North Rukuru River to the north, Lake Malawi to the east, and the Luangwa River. They are found in the valleys near the rivers, lake as well as the highlands of Nyika Plateau, where they are frequently referred to as Henga although this is strictly speaking the name of a subdivision.
The Ndwandwe–Zulu War of 1817–1819 was a war fought between the expanding Zulu Kingdom and the Ndwandwe tribe in South Africa.
The Ndwandwe are a Bantu Nguni-speaking people who populate sections of southern Africa.
The city of Chipata is the administrative centre of the Eastern Province of Zambia and Chipata District. It was declared the 5th city of the country, after Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone, by President Edgar Lungu on 24 February 2017. The city has undergone rapid economic and infrastructure growth in the years, leading up to city status.
The Ndau an ethnic group which inhabits the areas in south-eastern Zimbabwe in the districts of Chipinge and 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 and in central Malawi. The name "Ndau" is a derivation from the people's traditional salutation "Ndau wee!" in greetings and other social settings. When the Ngoni observed this, they called them the Ndau people, the name itself meaning the land, the place or the country in their language. Some suggestions are that the name is derived from the Nguni words "Amading'indawo" which means "those looking for a place" as this is what the Gaza Nguni called them and the name then evolved to Ndau. This is erroneous as the natives are described in detail to have already been occupying parts of Zimbabwe and Mozambique in 1500s by Joao dos Santos. The five largest Ndau groups are the Magova; the Mashanga; the Vatomboti, the Madanda and the Teve. Ancient Ndau People met with the Khoi/San during the first trade with the Arabs at Shiriyandenga currently known as Mapungumbye. They traded with Arabs with “Mpalu” “Njeti” and “Vukotlo’’ these are the red, white and blue coloured cloths together with golden beads. Ndau people traded traditional herbs, spiritual powers, animal skins and bones.
Zwangendaba kaZiguda Jele Gumbi was the king of the Ngoni people for more than thirty years, from approximately 1815 to his death in 1848. He was the older brother of Somkhanda kaZiguda Jele who was also known as Gumbi and founded the Gumbi clan in Kwazulu-Natal in areas of Pongola. Zwangendaba was a King of a clan of the Nguni or Mungoni people who broke away from the Ndwandwe Kingdom alliance under King Zwide. He was related to Zulu king Shaka and served under him as a military commander. After a dispute with Shaka over the payment of tribute from raids undertaken by Zwangendaba on Shaka's behalf, Zwangendaba gathered his clan and fled from the control from the Zulus during the Mfecane, which he was partly responsible for. Zwangendaba led his people, then called the "Jele", on a wandering migration of more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) lasting more than twenty years. Their journey took them through the areas of what is now northern South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi to the western part of Tanzania, where Zwangendaba set up a base at Mapupo. The Ngoni, originally a small royal clan that left Kwa-Zulu Natal, extended their dominion even further through present-day Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia when they fragmented into five separate groups following his death.
The Northern Ndebele people are a Bantu ethnic group in Southern Africa. They speak a language called isiNdebele. The Northern Ndebele were historically referred to as the Matabele by Sotho people, for a Nguni speaking person. Sotho people called all Nguni speaking people 'Matebele". That is why today there are a few tribes that live amongst the Basotho people and identify themselves as Matebele. These include from GaMashashane, Zebediela, and Mokopane near Polokwane. They identify themselves as Matebele meaning they are of Nguni origin, from Mpumalanga and in Lesotho. Mzilikazi was a contemporary of King Shaka and spoke the same language. The difference between the isiNdebele language of Zimbabwe and Zulu language of South Africa is not great. The two languages are mutually intelligible to some degree, with differences in pronunciation, accents, and some loan words. There is also the use of older words in isiNdebele, with some of the words no longer being in use in isiZulu, and only older generation knows these words. The Ndebele culture and language is similar Zulu culture, as they share ancestry and common origins to Zulu people from the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) province of South Africa. The amaNdebele of Mzilikazi used the much smaller cowhide shields and short stabbing assegai of King Shaka's army. Ndebele people were also called Bathebele, which became amaNdebele.
Mzimba is a district in the Northern Region of Malawi. The capital is Mzimba. The district covers an area of 10,430 km.² and has a population of 610,944. It is the largest district in Malawi.
Eastern Province is one of Zambia's ten provinces. The province lies between the Luangwa River and borders with Malawi to the east and Mozambique to the south, from Isoka in the northeast to the north of Luangwa in the south. The provincial capital is Chipata. Eastern province has an area of 51,476 km2 (19,875 sq mi), locally shares border with three other provinces of the country and is divided into eleven districts.
Soshangana KaZikode, born Soshangana Nxumalo, was the Founder and the Monarch of the Gaza Empire, which at the height of its power stretched from the Limpopo river in southern Mozambique up to the Zambezi river in the north. Soshangana ruled over the Gaza state from 1825 until his death in 1858. Soshangana was also known by the name of Manukosi.
The Gaza Empire (1824–1895) was an African empire established by general Soshangane and was located in southeastern Africa in the area of southern Mozambique and southeastern Zimbabwe. The Gaza Empire, at its height in the 1860s, covered all of Mozambique between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, known as Gazaland.
Nguni people are a group of closely related Bantu ethnic groups native to South Africa, with off-shoots in neighbouring countries in Southern Africa. Swazi people live in both South Africa and Eswatini, while Northern Ndebele people live in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Mpezeni (1830–1900) was warrior-king of one of the largest Ngoni groups of central Africa, based in what is now the Chipata District of Zambia, at a time when the British South Africa Company (BSAC) of Cecil Rhodes was trying to assume control over the territory for the British Empire. Mpezeni was courted by the Portuguese and the BSAC sent agents to obtain a treaty — Alfred Sharpe in 1889, and Joseph Maloney in 1895, who were both unsuccessful.
Paramount Chief Mpezeni is the King of the Ngoni people of Zambia's Eastern Province and Malawi's Mchinji district.
Zambia, officially known as the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, located in the southeast of the country. The population is concentrated mainly around the capital and the Copperbelt to the northwest.
Ngoni is a Bantu language of Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. There is a 'hard break' across the Tanzanian–Mozambican border, with marginal mutual intelligibility. It is one of several languages of the Ngoni people, who descend from the Nguni people of southern Africa, and the language is a member of the Nguni subgroup, with the variety spoken in Malawi sometimes referred to as a dialect of Zulu. Other languages spoken by the Ngoni may also be referred to as "Chingoni"; many Ngoni in Malawi, for instance, speak Chewa, and other Ngoni speak Tumbuka or Nsenga.
Lubimbi people are scattered all over Africa, mostly found in Southern Africa. Notable countries being South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda.
Leroy Vail whose birth name was Hazen Leroy Vail was an American specialist in African studies and educator who specialized in the history and linguistics of Central Africa and later extended his interests to Southern Africa. He taught in universities in Malawi, Zambia and the United States and his research in the first two countries inclined him toward the view that Central Africa underwent a period of underdevelopment that began in the mid-19th century and accelerated under colonial rule. After his return to the United States, he cooperated with Landeg White on studies of colonial Mozambique and on the value of African poetry and songs as a source of oral history.
Media related to Ngoni people at Wikimedia Commons