Ndebele King Lobengula.

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Political organization of the Ndebele State

  • The Ndebele State was a centralized and militarized state
  • This means that all the political, military, administration, judiciary and religious were in the hands of the king
  • The king was responsible for the selection of indunas and chiefs and these reported on activites in their areas
  • The kings wives were stationed in regimental towns as spies
  • The Ndebele king distributed captives
  • The Ndebele state settlements were located close to the king’s palace, i.e about 80 km radius.
  • All national ceremonies were presided over by the king, for example, the Inxwala
  • The king was assisted by two councils in ruling and administration of the state.
  • The highest and first decision making council was the Mphakati and this comprised of the Zansi group members
  • The second one with members chosen by merit was called the Izikulu. It had elders recognized for their wisdom on the Ndebele tradition and customs
  • These two groups checked on the king’s political powers to ensure that he did not have absolute powers
  • The Izikulu deliberated and communicated their views with the Mphakati
  • The state was divided into regimental towns which include the Amanyama,
    Amakanda, Amahlope and the Izigaba.
  • Each  town had a settlement of soldiers, civilians and leader called Induna usually from the Zansi class
  • The chiefs and indunas distributed cattle at a limited level
  • Chiefs and indunas took turns to travel to the royal court to be on the king’s advisory council
  • Tribute was paid to the king to show loyalty and allegiance
  • Failure to pay tribute was seen as rebellion and was punished by regular raids

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.


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