It was settled in the Second Great Bantu Migration by racial fanatics who deliberately sought out hostile environments with no genetic engineering (like heavy gravity gene modifications) and little technological support, to cope. The result was extremely high death rates, especially infant death rates, but also the development by forced natural selection of a very high physical performance strain of human beings.
Manpower Incorporated was attracted to the Mfecane worlds for that reason and staged slave raids to collect those 'improved' gene strains. Their heavy labor genetic slaves had a high percentage of such genes. Both those from the Mfecane worlds and the slaves were aware of this history, and both resented it. By Honor Harrington's time, such slave raiding had effectively stopped, and the Mfecane worlds had been incorporated into a Solarian League Protectorate status by the Office of Frontier Security. The resulting abuse and exploitation was particularly extreme, and some took any opportunity to escape, even joining the PFS Armed Forces. A few, such as Thandi Palane managed to join the regular Solarian League Armed Forces, in her case the Marine Corps.
Ndebele, being a planet with reduced surface sunlight, had the further effect of reducing the skin pigmentation the colonists started with. The population was very pale, nearly albino, but typically retained the colonists' Sub-Saharan facial features. The result was startling to those whose experience had included particular facial features with particular skin tones. (CS1)
- ↑ Named for a prominent tribe in Southern Africa