Northern Ndebele is often regarded as a variety of Southern Ndebele, yet due to fundamental differences between the two varieties it is considered to be a different language by its speakers.

This language is mainly spoken around Polokwane (previously known as Pietersburg), few places in Mpumalanga, north west of Hammanskraal, Makapanskrans and in some places in Gauteng.

Family: Bantu (or rather Ntu) Language Family
Group: South Eastern Bantu (or rather Ntu)
Subgroup: Nguni (Zunda Subgroup)

The number of speakers is estimated at more than 4 million by L.M. Molomo of the Northern Ndebele National Organisation (2000). No other official numbers could be found.


WILKES, A.   2001.   Mashada Nemithetho Yekugwala Kwesindebele Sasenyakatho. / Northern Ndebele Orthography and Spelling Rules.   PanSALB Occasional Papers No. 5.   Pretoria : PanSALB.   32p.

J. Olivier (2009)