Southern Ndebele is spoken by about 2.4 million people in South Africa, where it is one of the official languages. Most of the speakers can be found in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West provinces. About 1 milion people speak Southern Ndebele as a first language, and another 1.4 million speak it as a second language.
Speakers of Ndebele are known as amaNdebele. Between in 1981 a semi-autonomous homeland known as KwaNdebele was established for them in the northeast of South Africa. Before then, their language had been marginalised, and they were discouraged from using it in public. They preferred to use Zulu, which they learnt at school. KwaNdebele became part of Mpumalanga province in 1994.
Hear how to pronunce Southern Ndebele:
Abantu bonke bazalwa bekhululekile njalo amalungelo abo elingana. Balesipho sokucabanga lonembeza, ngakho kumele baphathane ngomoya otshengisa ubuhlobo.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Southern Ndebele
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Page last modified: 25.03.22
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