Page 1

Zulu culture

MOUZA & Shaikha





In this report I will explain to you a culture of zulu


The Zulu (Zulu: amaZulu) are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated 10–11 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Their language, Zulu, is a Bantu language; more specifically, part of the Nguni subgroup. They remain today the most numerous ethnic group in South Africa, and now have equal rights along with all other citizens, although there is still much more to be done establishing complete social equality in South Africa society. Information: Total population : 10,659,309 (2001 census) Languages: Zulu (many also speak English, Portuguese, Afrikaans and Xhosa) Religion : Christian, African traditional religion king of the Zulu:

Shaka, king of the Zulu. After a sketch by Lt. James King, a Port Natal merchan The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. They are well known for their beautiful brightly colored beads and baskets as well as other small carvings.

THE ZULU PEOPLE Of all the sub-Saharan Bantu people, the Zulus are the most well known. They arose in the late 18th century from the hundreds of small clans occupying the northern regions of kwaZulu-Natal on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. There was always a struggle between the clans for grazing rights and conflict was commonplace but took the form of shouted insults and some assegai throwing.

This changed with Shaka, an illegitimate son of a local chief, evicted, with his mother from his own clan. Shaka was born in 1787 and grew to be strong and fearless. He changed tactics and developed the short stabbing spear. Conflicts now assumed a deadly nature and Shaka swept all before him. He was contemporaneous with Napoleon and finally conquered a far greater area. The Zulus then came in to contact with the white man and suffered reverses at his hands, firstly with the Voortrekkers and some thrty years later, against the British. At each engagement, their warriors proved to be brave soldiers. The nation was then broken up and some Zulus assisted both the Boers and the English during the Boer War of 1899 - 1902. Promises of emancipation made to them by the British were not honoured and a growing resentment grew during the years between union (1910) and the advent of the Afrikaner Nationalists in 1948.

After secession from the Commonwealth in 1960, the Zulus joined with other black groups in the struggle against apartheid until the first democratic elections in 1994. This short treatise is designed as a short introduction to these exciting people. ZULU FOOD AMAZI Although all other food is shared, amazi is considered a delicacy and may only be consumed by family members. It is largely milk, allowed to curdle in a gourd or basket, the whey being removed through a hole in the base, when it is refilled with fresh milk. After consumption, the vessel is immediately refilled and is never cleaned. Beer Brewing of beer is the duty of the women. Coarse sorghum and maize is steeped in water for a day. On the second day, it is boiled and dry sorghum added and the mash allowed to cool. On the third day the brew is filtered through a sieve and served and consumed on the same day. It has an alcohol content of 3%, is refreshing and nutritious. The brewery is distinctive amongst the huts of the kraal in that it is only semi thatched, allowed the smoke from the fire to escape and ensuring a good supply of oxygen to the mash.

Food The Zulu culinary repertoire encompasses some forty dishes, mostly vegetarian (although the Zulus love meat). Maize, tubers and pumpkin are mostly eaten in different forms. Tomatoes, cabbage and onions are popular when available. Eating is hygienic, each member using his own plate and utensils. Hands are washed before eating and mouths are washed after. HISTORY:

EARLY HISTORY The Nguni peoples (the Zulus, Xhosa, Matabele, Swazis) had been gradually moving southwards with their herds for over one thousand years, eventually reaching the region of the White Umfolozi River. While some Nguni pushed further South to form the Xhosa nation, we are interested in a small clan headed by a chief called Malandela that settled in the Umfolozi River area. Malandela's wife was called Nozinja and they had two sons, Quabe, then Zulu (heaven). After Malandela's death, Quabe eyed the small herd of the clan so Nozinja, Zulu and a servant moved a short distance away to found a new home. SHAKA'S FATHER - SENZANGAKHONA Eventually, Zulu married and his lineage, all bearing the name Zulu, was Punga, Mageba, Ndaba, Jama and, at the end of the 18th century, Senzangakhona. The Zulu clan was still very small and occupied only an area of a few square kilometres. Senzangakhona had a flirtation with Nandi the daughter of a neighbouring chief of the Elangeni clan. The result of this liaison was a boy, named Shaka, born in 1787. His name comes from uShaka, a beetle said to inhabit the stomach and give rise to a bloated abdomen - as Nandi's pregnancy progressed. SHAKA As a youth, Shaka was the butt of many jokes because of his illegitimacy, however, such taunting turned the boy into a fearless, aggressive man. When Shaka's father died, Shaka assumed control of the Zulu clan, its 1,500 people and 150 sq.kms of territory. Shaka determined to gain hegemony over the local clans and the ritual skirmishing that had been the traditional manner of settling disputes was to change. Shaka developed the short, large bladed stabbing spear and a means of employing it lethally and he also developed the 'chest and horns' tactic of surrounding enemy forces and annihilating them. Within eleven years, he had accumulated and trained an army of fifty thousand warriors, defeated all the local clans. Shaka`s first kraal was called GIBIXHEGU which means `Take away the old men` because Shaka had all the old warriors put to death there. and was master of most of the eastern seaboard and interior of what is now South Africa.

However, he did not colonize the conquered territories but laid them waste, destroying crops, burning the kraals, driving off the cattle, killing or absorbing the men and carrying off the women and children.

SHAKA'S KRAAL Shaka built a huge kraal called BULAWAYO - or the 'place of the persecuted one', referring to his father's expulsion from Zululand. It was one kilometre in diameter, five kilometres in circumference, contained 1400 huts and 12,000 warriors. This great kraal established the pattern for all the other royal kraals. It was also the custom that when a new king ascended the throne, he burnt his father's kraal and established a new one. Thus, when the white men arrived to settle at Port Natal in 1824, most of the province of Natal South of the Tugela was largely empty of human habitation. SHAKA THE DESPOT Shaka's reign was ruthless and brutal, with both commoners and those in high office being put to death for little or no reason. The kraals of chiefs whom he had deemed to offend him were also summarily torched. Outside of Shaka's second kraal is a kei apple tree known as ISIHLAHLA AMAGWALA or Coward's Bush. Here, Shaka put to death those who displeased him. The bush takes its name from an incident when an unsuccessful impi (army) returned to the kraal. Shaka not only had the warriors put to death near the tree but also their families and their cattle. Gradually, his people, initially fearful, became increasingly intolerant of this wholesale slaughter. This mood of resistance was known to Shaka which only made things worse. SHAKA'S MOTHER DIES In October 1827, Nandi, Shaka's mother died. A huge crowd was gathered for the funeral. Shaka ordered some people to be put to death as a mark of respect for his mother, but as the killings commenced, such was the fear of this man that mourner set upon mourner to prove his or her devotion to Nandi and before long, seven thousand mourners were dead. SHAKA IS ASSASSINATED A year later, Shaka was assassinated by his half brothers Dingane and Mhlangana. With his dying breath he warned his assassins that they would not rule long because the white man would soon take away the Zulu land. Dingane assumed the throne, promptly murdering his half brother and anyone else whose loyalties were in question. Whilst initially reassuring his people that he was a man of peace, and that the slaughter of Shaka was a thing of the past, he soon became just as paranoid and just as brutal as his despotic brother.

DINGANE AND THE UMLUNGUS (EUROPEANS) At this time, Dingane was coming into increasing contact with white men, as traders, missionaries and as settlers. Whilst never forgetting Shaka's dying words, he was fascinated by their trinkets but feared their guns and horses. In 1837, he permitted a missionary, the Reverend Owen to occupy a hillside above his huge kraal but was more interested in persuading the reluctant missionary to teach him about musketry rather than religion. Owen did however interest Dingane in painting. The Zulu king had a relationship with the thirty or so settlers at Port Natal (Durban) that was by turns cordial and cold. He was happy to leave them alone providing they supplied him with trinkets and returned the increasing numbers of refugees that sought sanctuary near the settlers. However, the relationship deteriorated to the point where the settlers three times had to evacuate the port whilst his warriors sacked the settlement. In 1837, the Voortrekkers arrived in Natal and a party under Uys attempted to ascertain whether they could occupy the empty land South of the Tugela. Unfortunately, the trekkers could not cross the flooded Tugela to see Dingane so a shouted conversation ensued between the trekkers and some warriors on the far bank. As a result of the confused conversation, the trekkers came away with the idea that they were free to settle the land. In fact, Dingane had already given the land to the reluctant missionary Alan Gardiner from Port Natal. A few months later, another party under Piet Retief did see Dingane who requested that as a sign of good intentions, some cattle be recovered from a local chief who had stolen them from him. Retief recovered the cattle, together with some guns and horses, which he had no intention of giving Dingane.

In February 1838, Retief and one hundred others paid the king a visit to return the cattle and ratify the treaty giving the trekkers the land South of the Tugela. Dingane had already determined that he would eventually come up against these rugged men and their guns so he planned to remove them whilst they were still in small numbers. He surprised the Retief party and dragged them off to his hill of execution, kwaMatiwane where they were all put to death. He then dispatched his ten thousand strong army against the Voortrekker camps stretched out along the Drakensberg foothills. On the night of the 16th February 1838, 500 trekkers were killed by the Zulus. However, the army had underestimated the number of wagons that had descended the Drakensberg mountains and several camps were untouched. Further, they became distracted by the large herds of cattle (which was often the reason for Zulu conflict) and drove them back to the king. The trekkers wreaked revenge at Blood River, ten months later where 460 men defeated a force of 10,000 Zulus causing 3,000 Zulu deaths and suffering two trekker deaths. The trekkers then aimed to seize Dingane but he fled, burning his kraal. A history of the Voortrekkers is here ZULU HISTORY - CETSHWAYO AND MPANDE MPANDE Some months later, Mpande, Dingane's half brother (who had somehow escaped murder by his brother) defected to the Trekkers. His general, Nongalaza defeated Dingane at the battle of Magongo Hills, Mkuze, forcing him to flee to Swaziland where he was killed by his own people. Mpande was installed as the king of the Zulus and reigned for more than thirty years. However, long before his death, a power struggle arose between two of his sons - Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi - that was settled when the former defeated the latter at the bloody battle of Ndondakusuka in 1856 in which 23,000 Zulu warriors perished. CETSHWAYO After Mpande's death in 1872, Cetshwayo revived and reconstructed the Zulu army. However, he had perpetual border disputes with the Boers in the west and the English in the South. Matters came to a head in 1878 when the discovery of diamonds elsewhere in South Africa forced the British to take a new look at the independent African nations. An ultimatum - that could never be fulfilled and was really an excuse for war - was shamefully handed to the Zulus in December 1878. A month later, three columns of British troops invaded Zululand. Within a month, the British were soundly defeated at both Isandlwana and Hlobane and the eastern column was besieged at Eshowe. However, reinforcements and superior weaponry wrought dreadful carnage amongst the Zulu forces, no matter

how brave and courageous, at Kambula and Ulundi where the Zulus finally were broken. The battlefield is marked today by four cairns of whitewashed stone marking the corners of the British square. Cetshwayo was captured and sent firstly to Cape Town and eventually to London, where he met Queen Victoria. He was restored to his throne that was one of thirteen chiefdoms established by the British. He died in 1882. Dinizulu succeeded Cetshwayo and ruled until 1913 when he was succeeded by Soloman and then by Cyprian in 1948. The current King of the Zulus is King Goodwill Zwelethini. The Zulus were also involved in the Boer War of 1899-1902. Although not officially using black people, both sides employed them as transport riders and trench diggers. The British eventually incorporated many into their armed forces.

RECENT ZULU HISTORY: RECENT HISTORY After the second Boer War, the Zulus were to feel the first stings of the white man's rule and were segregated and subject to strict control over their movement. Union came in 1910 and all the provinces were molded into the Republic of South Africa. In 1948, the Afrikaner dominated National Party succeeded in gaining control of Parliament and set about disenfranchising those people of colour who still had the vote. The policy of separateness (apartheid) was continually reinforced and embellished with the Job Reservation Act, the Mixed Marriages Act, The Group Areas Act, The Immorality Act, the Pass Laws and many more. The Black nations were split into homelands, the Zulus into kwaZulu (place of the Zulu), comprising thirteen fragmented areas. In 1990, in the face of chronic internal resistance and international sanctions, all the previously banned black political parties were unbanned, race laws were abolished and political prisoners were released. In 1994, the first democratic elections were held and the homeland of kwaZulu was dissolved and the entire province of Natal renamed KwaZulu-Natal.


The zulus are the most numerous tribe in south africa, and their language is the second most spoken language in south africa after english. The zulus believe that they are descendents of a congo chief whom during the 16th century migrated to the south. By the 17th and 18th century the zulu people were established in kwazulu natal and formed tribes and clans. They emerged as a powerful nation through their famous king shaka zulu around 1820. He employed ingenious tactics to outwit his opponents utilising a fearless army, which was drilled and trained to be brutal, becoming the most feared on the african continent. In the 1930s the zulu army suffered a great defeat against the boers in the battle of blood river. Their freedom was finally lost during the anglo zulu war against the british army in which the british army also suffered heavy losses. Today, the zulu culture is most noticeable in the rural regions of kwazulu natal by their dress code and their homesteads, their religious beliefs and the traditional healers (sangoma) that dominate their lives. In the cities, the zulus are more politically driven. Their inkhata freedom party (ifp) is led by mangusutu buthelezi in an authoritarian manner. CLOTHING MENS The AMASHOBA are cow tails worn on the upper arms and below the knees to give the appearance of greater bulk to the body.

ISINENE is the front apron, consisting of coin sized circular skin patches sewn closely together to add weight and cover the male genitals.

IBESHU is the rear apron made from calf skin (from stillborn or dead calves). Those of young men involved in active pursuits are knee length whilst those of the older men are ankle length. A headband is used only by married men.

The leopard is revered as the king of predators and only those of an elevated social position wear its skin. An induna may only wear a headband but the king may wear as much as he wishes. The INJOBO are long animal skins worn on the hips. WOMENS A single maiden will wear only a short grass skirt embellished perhaps with beads whilst an engaged girl will cover her breasts and allow her hair to grow. A married woman covers her entire body to indicate that she is taken and wears a thick cowhide skirt that has been treated with charcoal and animal fat. Over this skirt may be another of cloth in white, red or black. Over her breasts, the woman wears a cover decorated with beads with a message understood only by her husband. The most impressive adornment is the hat which is constructed with grass and cotton that is sewn into the hair. These may measure as much as a meter across and last for a few months, whereupon the procedure is repeated. OTHER TRADITIONS •

Dance and song permeate Zulu lifestyle, with each movement or formation symbolizing hunting, tidal movement and war. National ceremonies include Heritage Day--celebrating Shaka Zulu, founder of the Zulu nation, with stick fighting and public duels--and Umkhosi woMhlanga, when thousands of Zulu virgins celebrate the September reed dance festival promoting purity and respect for young women.


TYPES OF DANCE Bull Dance: a dance that originated in the cramped confines of the mine dormitories imitating a bull with the arms held aloft and the legs brought down with a thump. The rural girls have their own version. The Hunting Dance imitates the actions of hunting and the bravery it requires. This fiery dance is danced using sticks instead of spears to avoid injury and was danced before the hunt began. The girls also dance their own version but to welcome the men back from the hunt. The Dance of the Small Shield dates from Shaka's time and is a rhythmic dance used to encourage military unity. Today it is normally performed at Royal occasions. A similar dance using a spear and shield is the umGhubho. The umQhogoyo involves violent shaking of the upper body. The umBhekuzo represents the ebb and flow of the tides with the men alternately advancing and retreating on the audience. Those at the ends lift up their aprons exposing their buttocks. The dancers' bodies move in snakelike unison accompanied by singing in the UmChwayo. The umGhebulo appears as if the dancers want to pull down the sky or climb an imaginary ladder to it. The iliKhomba is a graceful dance with rhythmic movements of the upper body accompanied by the swinging of a long decorated stick. DRUMS Drums are an integral part of most festivities and are made today from petrol drums with a stretched skin at each end - previously they were made from earthenware pots. The VIBRATION DRUM is made from a container with skin over one end. • • •

ZULU CRAFTS: ZULU BASKETS A variety of materials are used to construct vessels - clay, grass and telephone wire.

However where clay is scarce, baskets are made using the split leaves of the iLala palm. Soaking the leaves in a natural colourant made from dung or other natural pigments creates patterns. The patterns advertise the maker of the basket and often incorporate traditional designs. The vessels are sealed with moist maize flour that causes the grass to swell.

ZULU FAMILY : The relationships between various family members and others of the clan and the tribe were established hundreds of years ago. BRINGING UP THE CHILDREN It is the duty of the wife to bring the children up and children are taught from an early age to respect elders and never speak unless spoken to. There is a complete lack of familiarity between father and son. The wives are subservient to the husbands, bringing them their food before retiring to their own quarters. The husband will eat his fill and leave the rest for the remainder of his family. THE BOYS Boys are given a pet name when they are born, another name from his father when he is seven, another nickname from his herd-boy friends and finally another name should he enter one of the AMABUTHO (regiments). Naming protocols are similar for girls except that they may add a variety of Christian names. One also finds a variety of strange names that are related to an event close to the birth of the child - Lightning or Unfortunate are some names that may be used.

The boys are expected to look after the family's herds, leaving home each morning, returning for the daily milking and breakfast before taking the herd out again for the afternoon. One of their pastimes is stick fighting as preparation for entering military service. STICK FIGHTING The fighting is done either with a shield in one hand and a stick in the other or with a stick in each hand. Such sticks are of hardwood and approximately 700mm in length and can land a painful blow. At the age of fifteen, young boys will receive their very own spear from their fathers before the next step, which is carrying their elder brothers' accoutrements to military camps. In this way, the boys are gradually introduced to the military way of life. The camps also introduce the boys the military legends, military successes and the respect, esprit de corps and honour that are attached the regiments. THE GIRLS Girls are slowly introduced to the family chores by first learning how to carry water using a small gourd. She learns to carry the gourd on her head by means of braided supports that her mother applies to her head. In the field, she is taught how to plant and reap the crops and is given her own hoe when she is eleven. By this age, she is capable of making a fire, preparing some simple dishes and looking after her younger brethren . THE MEN

The man of the house deals with visitors, attends public meetings, makes all the decisions, owns the hut and its contents in their entirety and is solely charged with entering into any agreement. As the boys get older, they are also introduced to the adult responsibilities. The husband may also carve wooden spoons and other utensils. If a family stretches over several kraals, an UMNUMZANA (headman) is appointed whose job it is to arbitrate over small matters. Several of these will serve under an induna who sits in the lower house of the Royal Parliament. The wives are in all respects inferior to the husbands. They are expected to look after all the children, tend the fields, carry the water, make pots and brew the beer. Often, the husband will pay greater attention to his herd than to his wives. THE CHIEF The tribal chief is called an INKOSI and is more than a chief but an arbiter, an object of reverence and respect and the figurehead for the entire group he is responsible for. If a chief failed his king, not only would he be put to death but all his subjects. He was also at risk from his own offspring as age advanced and was thought to be prone to making wrong decisions. GRANDMOTHER The Zulu Grandmother is the object of reverence and exerts considerable influence. She lives in the large hut of the ancestors. POLYGAMY The practice of having several wives indicates a man's social standing, wealth and virility. The first wife will initiate the acquisition of further wives as they are a help around the house. She, along with the grandmother exerts a powerful influence in the family. Each wife has her own hut, located in order of standing from the husband's hut, she also has her own fields, herd and cooks only for her immediate family. LOVELIFE The practice of UKU-HLOBONGA - sex without penetration - is accepted amongst young people. However, should penetration occur, a beast must be paid to the maiden's father. Should

there be an unwanted pregnancy, although the woman will be ostracised, it is the man who will bear most blame. SLEEPING Traditionally, a reed mat is used with a small bench acting as a pillow. LOBOLA This is the practice of paying the future father in law with cattle, for a wife. If the wife is deficient in any way, the father in law is expected to make a replacement available or refund some or all of the cattle. The cattle are used to recompense the father in law for the expense of her upbringing and the loss of her services. ETIQUETTE The Greeting: Sawubona (I see you), response: Yebo, Sawubona, the person of the higher standing greeting the inferior member. Excessive eye contact is considered to be provocative and is avoided, particularly between women and men. The Handshake: Firstly the conventional shake, then clasping thumbs around thumbs and finally another conventional handshake. Food: The men are served according to their standing, then the women, then the children, boys before girls. Walking: Wives walk behind their husbands who, should they encounter another man, pass him on the left enabling both to see the other's weapons. Beer Drinking: The women brew beer every couple of days and it is a slight to refuse it. The vessel is held in the right hand and the saucer with the left and the beer is drunk sitting or squatting. Rubbing the stomach compliments the brewer. Seating Order: Men always sit on the right of the hut with those of highest standing to the rear. Giving: Giving something is accomplished using the right hand only, the left supporting the right at the elbow to show that nothing is hidden. Sitting: One is always expected to sit on a hide or shield. ZULU KRAALS :


The Zulu term is UMUZI and consists of two concentric palisades of thorn trunks. The huts are located inside the outer palisade and the cattle in the inner circle with a smaller enclosure there for the calves. The kraal is usually built on a slight slope with the main entrance at the lower end. This enables rainwater to clean the cattle kraal, the ground dries quickly and any foe has to fight uphill. Small huts on poles act as storage huts or watchtowers. The largest hut, opposite the entrance, is that of the chief's mother. The chief's hut is to the right, the first wife is to the right of the chief's mother, the second wife is to the left of the chief's hut, the third wife to the right of the first wife and so on. The unmarried girls live on the left of the entrance, the unmarried boys, to the right. The two elder sons also vet any visitors and man the entrance around the clock. Visitors are either rejected, expected to wait for an appropriate length of time or ushered in immediately depending on their relation to the family. Those that are allowed in experience the SIYAKULEKA IKHAYA display where the gatekeeper sings the praises of the chief. The function of gatekeeper is also very useful in another way in that he will assume the role of chief on his father's death and will be familiar with all those who visited his father and their treatment.


BUILDING The traditional beehive huts are known as IQUKWANE. Men collect the outer sticks and place them in a circle on the ground. The women bind and thatch the structure using braided split reeds and grass. A central tree trunk acts as a support and the door is made low so that any foe has to stoop before entering. Dung and termite mound is mixed to a thick consistency and spread to form the floor which sets rock hard and may be polished to a mirror-like finish using a polishing stone. The same material is used to form a raised hearth near the central pole. The hut is very stable, warm in winter and cool in summer. Smoke from the fire escapes out the door or through the thatch that has the effect of constantly fumigating the hut.

FLAGS White flags over a kraal mean that an engagement is imminent whilst red/white flags over a bridegroom's kraal indicate that he has to go through tears and longing (red) to reach the love of his sweetheart (white). CATTLE

The Zulu man loves his cattle more than anything else - perhaps even his wives. He will spend hours just watching the herd - knowing every individual in it. Cattle mean status, wealth, power and the ability to buy wives. Frequently, Zulu chiefs would be buried in their cattle kraals. KRAAL PITS In order to store grain for the seasons in which it would not grow or to provide food in the case of some natural calamity, pits were dug in or near the cattle kraal. The pits were vase shaped, lined with clay and sealed with a large flat stone. The stored maize kept fresh for months in this way.

ZULU KRAAL - DINGANE'S KRAAL: HISTORY In 1828, Dingane murdered his half brother, Shaka at Dukuza (present day Stanger). He decided to build a huge kraal in the Emakhosini Valley on a slope of the Ntonjaneni hills. The site was well chosen because the top of the hill offered excellent views for miles and there was a perennial water supply from the two streams, the Umkhumbane and the Nzolo. Moreover, the entrance to the kraal pointed towards the grave of Zulu, the founder of the Zulu dynasty. Umgungundlovu has been given several meanings - 'the secret meeting of the king' (the plot to kill Shaka) or the 'place of the large elephant', taken from the shape of two tusks placed together and also referring to Dingane as the elephant. Across the Umkhumbane stream is another spur of the Ntonjaneni hills. On the higher slope of the spur is the place known as Hlom' amaButho or 'arm the warriors' hill where the impis would gather before missions. It was here that the Reverend Owen was given permission to establish a mission and from here that he witnessed the deaths of Retief and his men. Below Hlom' amaButho is a small rise on the spur before it descends to the Umkhumbane stream. This was kwaMatiwane the place of Matiwane - where all who had displeased Dingane were put to death.

ZULU RELIGION: Zulu Religion - Ancestor Worship: UNKULUNKULU Ancestors are thought to live in the spirit world of UNKULUNKULU (the greatest of the great) and are regarded as intermediaries between the living and the spirit world. As a consequence, they are praised and offerings are made to them. Should something untoward occur, the SANGOMA (spiritual healer) is consulted to determine whether the event has been caused by witchcraft (in which case there is a witch-hunt) or failure to appease the spirits. In the latter case, a sacrifice is made whilst complaining at the apparent attitude of the spirit. Spirits are thought to exist also in animals and in the forest and in caves. A female spirit - INKOSAZANA - is thought to make maize grow and is fêted in the spring. It is believed that all ancestors must be kept in the memory of the family otherwise, if forgotten, they may seek to be remembered by visiting trouble on them. Zulu Religion – Burials: The chief is frequently buried in a sitting position in his cattle kraal, sown into the skin of a black bull killed that day. Should he die elsewhere, a delegation takes a small branch of the buffalo thorn tree to the location where the chief's spirit enters the branch. The branch is then taken to the home kraal whilst being reassured the whole distance so that the spirit is not lost. Arriving, the branch is placed in the cattle kraal where it is eaten. A similar procedure occurs if the kraal is moved. Other members are often left to the wild animals after death. To the Zulu, it is the spirit that is important, not the body. Zulu Religion – Witchcraft: The Zulu people do not believe in fate and every event occurs for a reason. Bad events are certainly the doings of witches, which have to be exposed and suffer an agonizing death for the good of the clan. Those accused rarely object as it is thought that their spirit can be taken over without their knowledge. Not only they but also their families were put to death, their belongings passing to the chief. Excessive wealth resulted in a person being high on the 'hit list' for the next exposure, therefore poverty ensured a longer life. SANGOMA

Whereas the INYANGA treats physical disease, the SANGOMA is concerned with the psychic world but may use similar media. The SANGOMA is charged with ascertaining the cause of bad events, of protecting the clan against evil spirits and of exposing antisocial individuals. In former times the training took approximately twenty five years. Today, as a rule, the training period covers a span of five to seven years - in cities, frequently only several months. The SANGOMA may otherwise lead a normal life and perhaps have a second 'job'. INYANGA Incorrectly thought of as the witch doctor, the INYANGA is the doctor of the tribe - more correctly, the naturopath. Each INYANGA trains his son and the information is thus passed on from generation to generation. Both plant and animal parts are used in the remedies and Zulu people will travel long distance to see an inyanga - in fact 80% of the Zulu population still consult INYANGAS. Remedies for unsatisfactory love lives and such things as protection against lightning are also dispensed.

Zulu Religion – Superstitions:

THE ISIVIVANE Large piles of stones are occasionally encountered at various places in KwaZulu-Natal. These isivivane are the means by which respect is paid to the local spirits to ensure the journey is completed successfully. A stone is picked up with the left foot, transferred to the right hand and spat upon before being placed on the heap. LIGHTNING This natural phenomenon is feared by the Zulu, it might be because of the spectacular storms that occur in the summer

months in Zululand. Any person, animal or tree that is struck is considered to have been so because of the wishes of the spirits. Any person killed by lightning will neither be mourned nor buried with a ceremony, cattle will not be eaten but buried and trees that have been felled by lightning will not be used for any purpose. A Zulu man will go out to the cattle kraal before an impending storm, beat his shield, burn herbs and implore the spirits to protect the kraal. It is widely thought that lightning can be directed by the spirits TOKOLOSHE The Tokoloshe is a feared individual, the equivalent of a zombie. It is said that wizards created tokoloshes by taking a corpse, gouging out its eyes, cutting out its tongue and driving a red hot rod down through its skull whereupon it shrinks to the size of a young child. By blowing magic powder into its mouth, it comes to life for its master's bidding. In the hut, beds were frequently raised on bricks, out of reach of the tokoloshe and a knock at the door at night remains unanswered. WARRIORS: Zulu Stick Fighting:

Disputes between men are settled publicly in this way, often at other ceremonies. A referee supervises the duel and there are strict rules.

The weapons are a carved club held in the right hand and a small shield and small stick held in the left to ward off blows. Eye contact is maintained, tempers are held in check and stabbing is forbidden. Blows are aimed at the head and knees. As soon as blood flows, the duel is over and the winner tends the loser and the bad blood is forgotten. If an opponent is killed, there is no charge as long as the rules were observed. Young boys as taught to stick fight from an early age using branches. They are given adult fighting sticks at the age of 15. Zulu Combat: BATTLE FORMATION

Shaka developed the 'chest and horns' battle group where the army advanced in close order until they were almost upon the enemy when young warriors at either flank ran around the enemy and surrounded them. The central group of experienced warriors then advanced and crushed the enemy against the anvil of the 'horns'. Behind the chest was the 'loins' as reserves, also of experience warriors. COMBAT Close Combat Encounters between warring groups before Shaka consisted of both parties insulting each other from a distance whereupon spears were thrown. Casualties were few and a stalemate often resulted when both sets had used up all their spears. Shaka invented the short, large bladed IXHWA spear, so named from the sound it made when being withdrawn from the body of an opponent. He also turned the shield into an offensive weapon. Warriors were taught to catch their shield behind that of their opponents and thrust it out of the way, exposing the warrior's body. The ISAGILA is more commonly known as the knobkerrie - a heavy stick with a fist sized end used as a club. It was also used as a throwing weapon when hunting. The ISIPHAPHA is the long throwing spear. The UMTSHISA is the traditional fighting stick - one end tapered to a point and the other with a sharp chisel end. A smaller stick and small shield are used to fend off blows.

The battleaxe was used to identify the indunas, who only fought each other. Zulu Battles:


Shaka developed the 'chest and horns' battle group where the army advanced in close order until they were almost upon the enemy when young warriors at either flank ran around the enemy and surrounded them. The central group of experienced warriors then advanced and crushed the enemy against the anvil of the 'horns'. Behind the chest was the 'loins' as reserves, also of experience warriors. BATTLES ISANDLWANA One of the greatest successes of the Zulu army was against 1500 British troops at Isandlwana in the 1879 war. The commanders failed to organize proper defences against an enemy they held in contempt and were to pay grievously when attacked by 25,000 of Cetshwayo's warriors. The defeat was the greatest defeat suffered by the British military at the time. BLOOD RIVER The massacre of the Voortrekker Piet Retief and one hundred others by King Dingane was followed by attacks on the unprotected Voortrekker laagers under the Drakensberg in February 1838 in which 500 died. This lead to a punitive commando under Andries Pretorius engaging the Zulu army at the Ncome

River. Ndlela, the commander failed to get all his troops across the river by daylight to attack the trekker laager and his troops were cut down, some 3,000 dying to the trekkers' two dead. Dingane subsequently fled to Swaziland and was assassinated there. OTHER BATTLES At Ndondakusuka, north of the Tugela in 1856, Cetshwayo defeated his half brother to gain the Zulu throne. More than twenty three thousand lost their lives in the most bloody battle ever to take place in the province. There were regular major campaigns sent against the Matabele in the Transvaal and the Swazis to the north. SOCIETY, ECONOMY AND POLITICS In the past centuries the Zulus preferred to live in homesteads (a group of huts called kraals) instead of villages. The huts in the homestead formed a circle. There was a cattle pen in the middle of the circle where the Zulus kept their livestock. Traditional huts were built by using small trees with grass mats on top. The floor was made of clay and cow dung that was rubbed hard into a smooth and shiny surface. Traditional Zulu society has chiefs and a king. Several homesteads were traditionally run by one chief, who made the important decisions. There was one Zulu king who represented all the Zulu. He played an important role in the politics of the Zulu territory throughout history and has represented his people internationally. Today, Zulu kinds are still respected but this traditional power structure clashes with the central and democratic government of South Africa. The Zulu who live primarily in the rural part of South Africa tend to raise cattle and also grow corn and vegetables (such as corn, beans, yams and millet). The men and boys have been traditionally responsible for the herds of cattle, goats and sheep, while the women have been responsible for the planting and harvesting of crops. Men play the dominant role in Zulu families. The men own the huts, make the decisions, receive visitors and go to war. They are also allowed to have more than one wife. When they are young, girls learn to cook, plant crops and take care of the children. After marriage, Zulu brides traditionally move in with their husbands and their husbands' families. The husband and his family give the bride's family some cattle as a gift in return. In the past, the only

way to inherit property was through the father. Mothers are primarily responsible for their children, but children tend to grow up with a large number of other people who are all seen as family. The Zulu who live in urban areas are still suffering from the history of Apartheid. They have a hard time competing for jobs and most do unskilled labor (men) and domestic work (women). Articles

REFRENCE : • • • book 'Zulu - People of Heaven' (ISBN 0 620 20663 2) by kind permission


The Zulu (Zulu: amaZulu) are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated 10–11 m...