ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Ndebele State:The Economic Organization of the Ndebele State
- The main economic activity of the Ndebele state was raiding
- Raiding was done by the army and they raided for cattle, grain and women
- The raids were conducted in Mashonaland, Zambezi and as far as Zambia
- The Ndebele also practiced crop cultivation
- They grew crops such as such as millet, sorghum and Rapoko
- Land in the state was distributed by the Induna Enkulu and the chiefs
- Ndebele subjects provided labour in the King’s field and communal work parties called Ilima were done.
- Produce from agriculture was used for trade, ceremonies and payment of tribute.
- The Ndebele practiced livestock production
- They kept cattle, sheep, poultry
- The king had the largest herd of cattle and he distributed cattle in the land through the Ukugalisa system
- Cattle was used to pay lobola, trade, tribute and as rewards to subjects
- The Ndebele lived nomadic life in search of pastures
- They did trade with the whites and internally with local people like Mashayamombe
- The Ndebele got exotic item such as beads and clothes
- Trade was done with done with the missionaries based at Inyathi and with hunters, for example, John Lee and Wilson Asher as well as the Portuguese.
- Ndebele subjects paid tribute to the King as a sign of loyalty and allegiance to show respect to the King.
- The Shona tribe of the Chirimuhanzu dynasty also paid tribute to the Ndebele king in the inform of spears, hides, clothes and beads
- Those who refused to pay tribute were
- Hunting was also practised by the Ndebele to get ivory to be used for external trade.
- The Ndebele mined gold and iron for external trade
- Iron was also used for making iron tools
- Basketry, pottery making and weaving were also done by the Ndebele
To access more topics go to the History Notes page.
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