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The Matabele are a branch of the Zulus who escaped from King Shaka under the leadership of Mzilikazi, a former general in Shaka's army. They are now more commonly known as the Ndebele.

First they moved westwards wreaking havoc in a period of African history known as the Mfecane, then they came into contact with the Tswana who a credited with giving this band of Zulus the name "Matabele". Tabele comes from tebela which means to chase away.

They then moved northwards into present-day Zimbabwe where they battled with the Shona, eventually carving out a home now called Matabeleland.

Lobengula assumed power after Mzilikazi, until their defeat in the 1890s by the British South Africa Company under Cecil Rhodes and Leander Starr Jameson who were in search of mineral resources in an age of dominant British colonialism.

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