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Matabeleland is a region which covers a considerable part of the south western plateau of Zimbabwe. The area is predominantly home to the Ndebele speaking Zimbabwean societies.

The Land of the Matabele

During mid 19th Century, the Mfecane wars which broke out in the Zulu state south of the Limpopo river ushered in a massive northwards exodus of various polities.[1] One major important group were the Khumalo people who ran away from Tshaka's wars and passed the Drankensburg Mountains and eventually crossed the Limpopo river.[2]

Along the way, the Khumalo people under Mzilikazi conquered and amalgamated other polities and tribes. These include some Tswana, Xhosa and Sotho polities which were incorporated by the Khumalo.[1] As they crossed the Limpopo, the Khumalo further incorporated the Shona speaking subjects into their empire. It was during this period when they became to be known as the Matabele people.[1]

They subsequently established their royal capital near present day Bulawayo. With the coming in of the Christian missionaries and Portuguese traders, the area was constantly referred to as the land of the Matabele, or simply Matabeleland. Colonial rule further engraved the notion of Matabeleland when it drew geographical boundaries between Matabeleland and Mashonaland.[2]

Since its inception, the Matabeleland region has been a home to people of various social and religious backgrounds. Most of them are however bound with the same language which was predominantly Ndebele. Other languages spoken in the Matabeleland region include Kalanga, Venda and Nambia.

Provinces in Matabeleland

Bulawayo Metropolitan Province

Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe. It is arguably the capital of the whole Matabeleland region.[3]

Matabeleland North Province

The seven districts are:


Matabeleland South Province

The seven districts are:


Major Attractions

Matabeleland North province is home to the mighty Victoria Falls which is one of the world's natural wonders. The Victoria Falls is an all year round tourist resort which accommodates peoples from different parts of the world who visit to see the wonder. Hwange National Park is also found in Matabeleland. It is the country's biggest national park with dozens of different species of wildlife. Matobo Hills and Khami Ruins are also a world heritage sites administered by the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 , History of Mthwakazi, retrieved:27 Jun 2014"
  2. 2.0 2.1 , Matabeleland, retrieved:27 Jun 2014"
  3. , Bulawayo Matabeleland,retrieved:27 Jun 2014"
  4. north, Matabeleland North, published:2013,retrieved:27 Jun 2014"
  5. J. Ncube, Focus on Matabeleland South, published:2011,retrieved:27 Jun 2014"

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