The Painted Houses of The Ndebeles | Via
The Ndebele people were formidable warriors who often subdued the smaller chiefdom’s and assimilated them into Ndebele society. Intermarriages ensued and cultural exchanged happened. It is believed that early Ndebele house structure and house-painting strategies were adopted as a result of these relationships. According to a few sources, the Ndebeles suffered a horrible defeat in a war against the Dutch-speaking settlers – the Boers, just before the start of the twentieth century. Forced into an oppressive life, the Ndebele people started using expressive symbols to secretly communicate with each other. These paintings became an expression of both cultural resistance and continuity. The Boer farmers did not understand the meaning and viewed this cultural art as decorative and harmless and thus allowed it to continue.
The wall paintings are always done by the women, and this tradition and style is passed down in the families from generation to generation by the mothers. A well-painted home indicates the female of the household is a good wife and mother. She is responsible for the painting of the outside gates, front walls, side walls, and usually the interior of her home.