|Regions with significant populations|
|10,659,309 (2001 census)|
| Zulu |
|Christianity, Zulu religion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Nguni, Xhosa, Swazi, Hlubi, Ndebele, other Bantu peoples|
The Zulu (/zuːluː/; Zulu: amaZulu), or also known as amaZulu, are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa. The Zulu are the largest ethnic group and nation in South Africa with an estimated 10–12 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The Zulu originated from Nguni communities who took part in the Bantu migrations. As the clans integrated together, the rulership of Shaka brought success to the Zulu nation due to his perfected military policies. The Zulu take pride in their ceremonies such as the Umhlanga, or Reed Dance, and their various forms of beadwork. The art and skill of beadwork takes part in the identification of Zulu people and acts as a form of communication. The men and women both serve different purposes in society in order to function as a whole. Today the Zulu predominately believe in Christianity, but have created a syncretic religion that is combined with the Zulu's prior belief systems.
The Zulu were originally a major clan in what is today Northern KwaZulu-Natal, founded ca. 1709 by Zulu kaMalandela. In the Nguni languages, iZulu means heaven, or weather. At that time, the area was occupied by many large Nguni communities and clans (also called the isizwe people or nation, or were called isibongo, referring to their clan or family name). Nguni communities had migrated down Africa's east coast over centuries, as part of the Bantu migrations. As the nation began to develop, the rulership of Shaka brought the clans together to build a cohesive identity for the Zulu.
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The Zulu formed a powerful state in 1818under the leader Shaka. Shaka, as the Zulu commander of the Mthethwa Empire and successor to Dingiswayo, united what was once a confederation of tribes into an imposing empire under Zulu hegemony. Shaka built a militarised system known as Impi featuring conscription, a standing army, new weaponry, regimentation, and encirclement battle tactics. Zulu expansion was a major factor of the Mfecane ("Crushing") that depopulated large areas of southern Africa.
In mid-December 1878, envoys of the British crown delivered an ultimatum to 11 chiefs representing the then-current king of the Zulu empire, Cetshwayo. Under the British terms delivered to the Zulu, Cetshwayo would have been required to disband his army and accept British sovereignty. Cetshwayo refused, and war between the Zulus and African contingents of the British crown began on January 12, 1879. Despite an early victory for the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana on the 22nd of January, the British fought back and won the Battle at Rorke's Drift, and decisively defeated the Zulu army by July at the Battle of Ulundi.
After Cetshwayo's capture a month following his defeat, the British divided the Zulu Empire into 13 "kinglets". The sub-kingdoms fought amongst each other until 1883 when Cetshwayo was reinstated as king over Zululand. This still did not stop the fighting and the Zulu monarch was forced to flee his realm by Zibhebhu, one of the 13 kinglets, supported by Boer mercenaries. Cetshwayo died in February 1884, killed by Zibhebhu's regime, leaving his son, the 15-year-old Dinuzulu, to inherit the throne. In-fighting between the Zulu continued for years, until in 1897 Zululand was absorbed fully into the British colony of Natal.
Under apartheid, the homeland of KwaZulu (Kwa meaning place of) was created for Zulu people. In 1970, the Bantu Homeland Citizenship Act provided that all Zulus would become citizens of KwaZulu, losing their South African citizenship. KwaZulu consisted of many disconnected pieces of land, in what is now KwaZulu-Natal. Hundreds of thousands of Zulu people living on privately owned "black spots" outside of KwaZulu were dispossessed and forcibly moved to bantustans – worse land previously reserved for whites contiguous to existing areas of KwaZulu. By 1993, approximately 5.2 million Zulu people lived in KwaZulu, and approximately 2 million lived in the rest of South Africa. The Chief Minister of KwaZulu, from its creation in 1970 (as Zululand) was Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi. In 1994, KwaZulu was joined with the province of Natal, to form modern KwaZulu-Natal.
Inkatha YeSizwe means "the crown of the nation". In 1975, Buthelezi revived the Inkatha YaKwaZulu, predecessor of the Inkatha Freedom Party. This organization was nominally a protest movement against apartheid, but held more conservative views than the ANC. For example, Inkatha was opposed to the armed struggle, and to sanctions against South Africa. Inkatha was initially on good terms with the ANC, but the two organizations came into increasing conflict beginning in 1976 in the aftermath of the Soweto Uprising.
The language of the Zulu people is "isiZulu", a Bantu language; more specifically, part of the Nguni subgroup. Zulu is the most widely spoken language in South Africa, where it is an official language. More than half of the South African population are able to understand it, with over 9 million first-language and over 15 million second-language speakers.Many Zulu people also speak Xitsonga, Sesotho and others from among South Africa's 11 official languages.
The Zulu people celebrate an annual event that was established in 1984 called the Umhlanga or Reed Dance. This event takes place at the royal capital near Nongoma.This traditional ceremony is performed by young women from all parts of the kingdom to perform in front of the monarch and his guests. The purpose of this event is to promote pride in virginity and to restrain sexual relationships. Beadwork is a prominent attire that is worn at the Umhlanga. The beadwork is not only worn by the dancers, but by the guests as well. The Umhlanga is not purely for a time of dance. The King also uses this time to speak to the young men and women of the nation. The King discusses the arising political issues that are inflicting on their nation.
The creation of beadwork dates back to the times of war for the Zulu people. This particular form of beadwork were known as iziqu, medallions of war.Often worn as a necklace, the beads were displayed in a criss-cross formation across the shoulders. This assemblage of beads by the warriors represented a symbol of bravery. Before the use of glass was apparent to the Zulu, beadwork derived from wood, seeds and berries. It was not until the arrival of Europeans that glass became a trade material with the Portuguese, which soon became abundantly available to the Zulu.
Beadwork is a form of communication for the Zulu people. Typically when one is wearing multiple beads, it is a sign of wealth. The more beads one is wearing, the wealthier they are perceived.The beads have the potential to convey information about a person's age, gender and marital status. The design of the beads often conveys a particular message. However, one must know the context of their use in order to read the message correctly. Depending on the area in which the beadwork was made, some designs can depict different messages compared to other areas. A message could be embedded into the colors and structure of the beads or could be strictly for decorative purposes. Beadwork can be worn in everyday use, but is often worn during important occasions such as weddings, or ceremonies. For example, beadwork is featured during the coming of age for a young girl or worn during dances. The beaded elements complement the costumes worn by the Zulu people to bring out a sense of finery or prestige.
Beadwork is worn by all men, women, and children at any age. Depending on which stage of life an individual is in, the beadwork indicates different meanings. Beadwork is dominantly worn when young Zulu people are courting or in search for love affairs.The wearing of decorative beadwork can act as an attempt to grab the attention of someone of the opposite sex. Also, the gifting of beadwork is a way of communicating interest with lovers. During the transition from single to married women, beadwork is shown through a beaded cloth apron worn over a pleated leather skirt. As for older or mature women, beadwork is displayed in detailed headdresses and cowhide skirts that extend past the knee. These long skirts are also seen on unmarried women and young marriageable-age girls. Men are more conservative when wearing beadwork. Although, when young boys are seen wearing multiple necklaces, it is a sign that he is highly interested by these gifts from various girls. The more gifts he is wearing, the higher prestige he obtains.
Various forms of beadwork are found in different color schemes. Typically, there are four different types of color schemes:
•Isisshunka-white, light blue, dark green, pale yellow, pink, red, black. This color scheme is believed to have no specific meaning.
•Isithembu-light blue, grass green, bright yellow, red, black. This color scheme derives from clans or clan areas.
• Umzansi-white, dark blue, grass green, red. This color scheme also derives from clans or clan areas.
• Isinyolovane-combination of any colors not consistent with other color schemes. This color scheme is often related to connotations of perfection and charm.
The colors of beads might hold different meanings based on the area that they originated from. It is often at times that this can lead to misrepresentation or confusion when attempting to understand what the beadwork is communicating. One cannot assume that the color system is standard across South Africa. In some areas, the color green symbolizes jealousy in a certain area, but in another area it symbolizes grass.One must know the origin of the beadwork in order to interpret the message correctly.
Zulus wear a variety of attire, both traditional for ceremonial or culturally celebratory occasions, and modern westernized clothing for everyday use. The women dress differently depending on whether they are single, engaged, or married. The men wore a leather belt with two strips of hide hanging down front and back.
In South Africa, the miniskirt has existed since pre-colonial times. In the African cultures, such as the Basotho, the Batswana, the Bapedi, the Amaswati and the AmaZulu, women wore traditional miniskirts as cultural attire.These skirts are not seen as shameless but used to cover the women's genitals. The skirts are called isigcebhezana and are essential in Zulu ceremonies. For example, Umemulo is a ceremony for women who turn 21 years of age. It represents a huge transition in the woman's life because it is a symbol of her being ready to accept a boyfriend and even get married. Additionally, each stage of a Zulu's life is determined by a specific type of clothing. For an unmarried woman, she wears the skirt and nothing on the top, but as she grows up, the woman starts to cover up her body because a time will come in which she will be a married woman and an old woman. Nonetheless, a special type of clothing is reserved to pregnant women. When a woman is pregnant she wears an ‘isibamba', a thick belt made from dried grass, covered with glass or plastic beadwork, to support her swelling stomach and its additional weight.
The Zulu people govern under a patriarchal society.Men are perceived as the head of the household and seen as authoritative figures. Zulu men identify themselves with great pride and dignity. They also compare themselves to qualities of powerful wild animals such as, bulls, lions and elephants. The men contribute to society by acting as defenders, hunters, and lovers. The Zulu men are also in charge of herding the cattle, educating themselves on the lives of disciplined warriors, creating weapons, and learning the art of stick fighting.
The art of stick fighting is a celebration of manhood for Zulu men. These men can begin to learn this fighting art form as young as the age of five years old.There are multiple reasons why men learn how to stick fight. For example, men may want to learn so that they can set right any wrongs or insults made towards them. Other reasons some men choose to learn are for sporting purposes, proving skills or manliness, and self-defense. The goal of stick fighting is to injure the opponent and sometimes even kill. There are rules of etiquette that must be abided by when stick fighting. The men can only fight a man within the same age as them. One cannot hit the opponent once the stick is lost from the possession. Lastly, only sticks are allowed when fighting.
The women in Zulu society often perform domestic chores such as cleaning, raising children, collect water and firewood, laundry, tend to crops, cooking, and making clothes.Women can be considered as the sole income-earner of the household. A woman's stages of life lead up to the goal of marriage. As a woman approaches puberty, she is known as a tshitshi. A tshitshi reveals her singleness by wearing less clothing. Single women typically do not wear clothing to cover their head, breasts, legs and shoulders. Engaged women wear hairnets to show their marital status to society and married women cover themselves in clothing and headdresses. Also, women are taught to defer to men and treat them with great respect. The women are always bound by a male figure to abide by.
Most Zulu people state their beliefs to be Christian. Some of the most common churches to which they belong are African Initiated Churches, especially the Zion Christian Church, Nazareth Baptist Church and United African Apostolic Church, although membership of major European Churches, such as the Dutch Reformed, Anglican and Catholic Churches are also common. Nevertheless, many Zulus retain their traditional pre-Christian belief system of ancestor worship in parallel with their Christianity.
Traditional Zulu religion includes belief in a creator God (uNkulunkulu) who is above interacting in day-to-day human life, although this belief appears to have originated from efforts by early Christian missionaries to frame the idea of the Christian God in Zulu terms.Traditionally, the more strongly held Zulu belief was in ancestor spirits (amaThongo or amaDlozi), who had the power to intervene in people's lives, for good or ill. This belief continues to be widespread among the modern Zulu population.
Traditionally, the Zulu recognize several elements to be present in a human being: the physical body (inyama yomzimba or umzimba); the breath or life force (umoya womphefumulo or umoya); and the "shadow," prestige, or personality (isithunzi). Once the umoya leaves the body, the isithunzi may live on as an ancestral spirit (idlozi) only if certain conditions were met in life.Behaving with ubuntu, or showing respect and generosity towards others, enhances one's moral standing or prestige in the community, one's isithunzi. By contrast, acting in a negative way towards others can reduce the isithunzi, and it is possible for the isithunzi to fade away completely.
In order to appeal to the spirit world, a diviner ( sangoma ) must invoke the ancestors through divination processes to determine the problem. Then, a herbalist ( inyanga ) prepares a mixture ( muthi ) to be consumed in order to influence the ancestors. As such, diviners and herbalists play an important part in the daily lives of the Zulu people. However, a distinction is made between white muthi (umuthi omhlope), which has positive effects, such as healing or the prevention or reversal of misfortune, and black muthi (umuthi omnyama), which can bring illness or death to others, or ill-gotten wealth to the user.Users of black muthi are considered witches, and shunned by the society.
Christianity had difficulty gaining a foothold among the Zulu people, and when it did it was in a syncretic fashion. Isaiah Shembe, considered the Zulu Messiah, presented a form of Christianity (the Nazareth Baptist Church) which incorporated traditional customs.
Furthermore, Zulu people also practice a ceremony called Ukweshwama. The killing of the bull is part of Ukweshwama, an annual ceremony that celebrates a new harvest. It is a day of prayer when Zulus thank their creator and their ancestors. By tradition, a new regiment of young warriors is asked to confront a bull to prove its courage, inheriting the beast’s strength as it expires. It is believed this power then transfers to the Zulu king.
Zulu people have a system called ilobolo. This term is particularly used by Zulu people when it comes to bride wealth. Every African ethnic group has different requirements when it comes to bride wealth. In pre-capitalist Zulu society, ilobolo was inextricably linked to the ownership of cattle.During that time, there was not a fixed amount of cattle required for the wedding to happen. It could be paid before the marriage or during the marriage. The groom will be taking the cattle from his father's herd in order to perpetuate the family heritage. Nonetheless, this ritual has changed during colonization because in 1869, Theophilus Shepstone, then Natal Secretary for Native Affairs, formalized the ilobolo payment to 10 cattle for commoners (plus the ingquthu cow for the mother), 15 for hereditary chief siblings and 20-plus for the daughters of a chief. They found it too lenient to let the groom give whichever amount he wants so they decided to instore specific amount of cattle that will be needed this time before or at the start of the marriage. This decision that had been taken by Zulu men who were educated in mission schools but according to the other people, this ritual became “untraditional”. Additionally, with the instauration of the Natal Code, some Zulu men decided to settle another way in which they could decrease the ilobo: offer a token payment or bring a present for the father of the prospective bride in order to decrease the ilobolo amount to be paid. The payment of ilobolo can be sometimes difficult for some families but it is a symbol of pride and respect. Consequently, this is the reason why some are willing to maintain it as long as possible.
The Anglo-Zulu War was fought in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Following the Constitution Act, 1867 for the federation in Canada, by Lord Carnarvon, it was thought that similar political effort, coupled with military campaigns, might succeed with the African kingdoms, tribal areas and Boer republics in South Africa. In 1874, Sir Bartle Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire to effect such plans. Among the obstacles were the armed independent states of the South African Republic and the Kingdom of Zululand.
KwaZulu-Natal is a province of South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu bantustan of KwaZulu and Natal Province were merged. It is located in the southeast of the country, enjoying a long shoreline beside the Indian Ocean and sharing borders with three other provinces, and the countries of Mozambique, Eswatini and Lesotho. Its capital is Pietermaritzburg, and its largest city is Durban. It is the second-most populous province in South Africa, with slightly fewer residents than Gauteng.
Zululand may refer to:
Cetshwayo kaMpande was the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1873 to 1879 and its leader during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. His name has been transliterated as Cetawayo, Cetewayo, Cetywajo and Ketchwayo. He famously led the Zulu nation to victory against the British in the Battle of Isandlwana, but was defeated and exiled following that war.
Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo was the king of the Zulu nation from 20 May 1884 until his death in 1913. He succeeded his father Cetshwayo, who was the last king of the Zulus to be officially recognized as such by the British. Zululand had been broken up into 13 smaller territories by the British after the Anglo-Zulu War, and Cetshwayo, and subsequently Dinuzulu, administered one of them. The British later realized the futility of breaking up Zululand into the territories and restored Cetshwayo as paramount leader of the territories. However, they left one of Cetshwayo's relatives, Usibepu (Zibhebhu), alone with his lands intact. On 22 July 1883, Usibepu attacked Cetshwayo's new kraal in Ulundi, wounding the king and causing him to flee.
Nongoma is a town in Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is the seat of the Nongoma Local Municipality. It is situated 300 km north of Durban and 56 km from Ulundi; it is surrounded by the Ngome Forest. It is a busy market town that serves a large surrounding area. It is assigned registration plate NND.
The Ngoni people are an ethnic group living in the present-day Southern African countries of Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Ngoni trace their origins to the Nguni and Zulu people of kwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The displacement of the Ngoni people in the great scattering following the Zulu wars had repercussions in social reorganization as far north as Malawi and Zambia.
Hans Paludan Smith Schreuder was a 19th-century Norwegian missionary who developed a close relationship with both the Zulu and British authorities.
The Zulu royal family consists of the reigning king of the Zulus, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, his consorts, and legitimate descendants. His great-great-grandfather, King Mpande, as a half-brother of the Zulu King Shaka, reigned from 1840 to 1872. Shaka's policies and conquests transformed a small clan into one of South Africa's most influential pre-colonial powers, extending over much of what is now KwaZulu-Natal.
Sigananda kaZokufa was a Zulu aristocrat whose life spanned the reigns of four Zulu kings in southeastern Africa. In an address by Mangosuthu Buthelezi at Endlamadoda-Nkandla on 15 September 2001 he said that Inkosi Sigananda's grandfather was Inkosi Mvakela, who married a sister of Nandi, King Shaka's mother, and that his father was Inkosi Zokufa. He also said he had a son called Ndabaningi. At this occasion he unveiled a monument to Inkosi Sigananda.
The Mthethwa Paramountcy, sometimes referred to as the Mtetwa or Mthethwa Empire, was a Southern African state that arose in the 18th century south of Delagoa Bay and inland in eastern southern Africa. "Mthethwa" means "the one who rules". According to Muzi Mthethwa (1995), the Mthethwas are descended from the Nguni tribes of northern Natal and the Lubombo Mountains, whose modern identity dates back some 700 years. They are among the first Thonga-Nguni groups who left the Great Lakes in Central Africa between 200 AD and 1200 AD. On arrival in Southern Africa, they settled around modern-day Swaziland, mainly on the Lubombo Mountains, before leaving in the 17th century to settle in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal, in the Nkandla region. It consisted of roughly 30 Nguni Chiefdoms, lineages, and clans. Unlike its successor, the Zulu Kingdom, the Mthethwa Paramountcy was a confederation. After Zulu prince Sigidi kaSenzagakhona became king, he forged a nearly homogeneous nation with a single king (nkosi).
The Nguni people are a group of Bantu peoples who primarily speak Nguni languages and currently reside predominantly in Southern Africa. The Nguni people are Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi. They predominantly live in South Africa. Swazi people live in both South Africa and Eswatini, while Ndebele people live in both South Africa and Zimbabwe. In South Africa, the historic Nguni kingdoms of the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi are on the present day provinces of the KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The most notable of these kingdoms is the Zulu Kingdom, which was ruled by Shaka, a powerful warrior king whose conquest took place in the early nineteenth century. In Zimbabwe the Ndebele people live primarily in the provinces of Matebeleland and Midlands.
The Kingdom of Zulu, sometimes referred to as the Zulu Empire or the Kingdom of Zululand, was a monarchy in Southern Africa that extended along the coast of the Indian Ocean from the Tugela River in the south to Pongola River in the north.
The Hlubi are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern African, with the majority of population found in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa.
The Xhosa nation are a Bantu ethnic group from Southern Africa whose homeland is primarily within the modern-day Eastern Cape. There is a small but significant Xhosa-speaking (Mfengu) community in Zimbabwe, and their language, isiXhosa, is recognised as a national language.
Umhlanga[um̩ɬaːŋɡa], or Reed Dance ceremony, is an annual Swazi and Zulu event. In Eswatini, tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini Royal Village to participate in the eight-day event. The young, unmarried girls were placed in female age-regiments; girls who had fallen pregnant outside wedlock had their families fined a cow.
Langalibalele (isiHlubi: meaning 'Sunnyday', also known as Mthethwa, Mdingi, was king of the amaHlubi, a Bantu tribe in what is the modern-day province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Magema Magwaza Fuze was the author of Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona, the first book in the Zulu language published by a native speaker of the language.
The Qwabe(Gumede) kingdom (amaQwabe) is the senior branch of the House of Malandela the royal Embo-Ntungwa-Nguni family, descendant from Qwabe(1575) the son of Malandela or Mayandeya the king of the Embo-Nguni.