LOCATION: KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa

POPULATION: 9.2 million

LANGUAGE: IsiZulu; Zulu; English

RELIGION: Mixture of traditional beliefs and Christianity


For many people, the Zulu are the best-known African people. Their military exploits led to the rise of a great kingdom that was feared for a long time over much of the African continent. The Zulu are the descendants of Nguni-speaking people. Their written history can be traced back to the fourteenth century.

In the early nineteenth century a young Zulu prince, Shaka, came onto the scene and welded most of the Nguni tribes into the powerful Zulu Kingdom. Shaka ruled from 1816 to 1828, when he was assassinated by his brothers. During his reign, Shaka recruited young men from all over the kingdom and trained them in his own novel warrior tactics. After defeating competing armies and assimilating their people, Shaka established his Zulu nation. Within twelve years, he had forged one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known.

However, during the late 1800s, British troops invaded Zulu territory and divided the Zulu land into thirteen chiefdoms. The Zulu never regained their independence. Throughout the mid-1900s they were dominated by different white governments, first the British and later on, the Afrikaner. The Zulu have endeavored to regain a measure of political autonomy, both before South Africa's first democratic election in 1994 and in the subsequent period to the present. They have been unsuccessful, however, with both governments.


The 9 million Zulu-speaking people live mainly in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Some are also scattered throughout the other provinces. KwaZulu-Natal borders on Mozambique in the north, Eastern Cape in the south, the Indian Ocean in the east, and Lesotho in the west. The capital city is Pietermaritzburg. KwaZulu-Natal is semi-fertile with a flat coastal plain, highlands to the west, and numerous rivers and streams. The subtropical climate brings lots of sunshine and brief, intense rain showers.

While many Zulu still live in traditionally structured rural communities, others have migrated to urban areas. However, links between urban and rural residents remain strong. A mixture of traditional and Western ways of life is clearly evident in the lives of almost all Zulu people.


The dominant language in South Africa is isiZulu. In KwaZulu-Natal, the most frequently spoken languages are Zulu and English. Zulu is idiomatic and proverbial and is characterized by many clicks. The Zulu language is characterized by hlonipha (respect) terms. Addressing those who are older than oneself, especially elderly and senior people, by their first names is viewed as lack of respect. Therefore terms like baba (father) and mama (mother) are used not only to address one's parents but also other senior males and females of the community.


Among the Zulu, the belief in ancestral spirits ( amadlozi or abaphansi ) has always been strong. These are the spirits of the dead. The Zulus recognize the existence of a supreme being. UMvelinqangi (One Who Came First) or uNkulunkulu (Very Big One) is God because he appeared first. This supreme being is far removed from the lives of the people and has never been seen by anyone. No ceremonies are, therefore, ever performed for uMvelinqangi. Zulu people believe that the spirits of the dead mediate between uMvelinqangi and the people on earth.

Zulus believe in a long life that continues after death. Getting old is seen as a blessing. This is based on the myth that long ago people did not die but rather lived for years. The Creator did not think that people should die. He, therefore, called a chameleon and said, "Chameleon, I am sending you to the people. Go and tell them that they are not to die." Although the chameleon was very slow, the Creator did not mind. He waited for the reply. However, after walking a long distance, the chameleon saw wild berries and decided to stop and eat them. It told itself that the Creator would not see it. Unfortunately, the Creator saw it and became very angry. He called a lizard, which came swiftly. The Creator told the lizard to go and tell the people that they are to die. The lizard sped off, passed the chameleon on the way, and delivered the message to the people. After a long time, the chameleon appeared, breathing heavily, and delivered its message. The people were very angry and said to it, "Why did you waste time? We have already received the lizard's message!" Thus, growing old among the Zulu is seen as a special privilege from the Creator. Elderly people are believed to be sacred, and are thus are always respected.


Ancestral spirits are important in Zulu religious life. Offerings and sacrifices are made to the ancestors for protection, good health, and happiness. Ancestral spirits come back to the world in the form of dreams, illnesses, and sometimes snakes. The Zulu also believe in the use of magic. Anything beyond their understanding, such as bad luck and illness, is considered to be sent by an angry spirit. When this happens, the help of a diviner (soothsayer) or herbalist is sought. He or she will communicate with the ancestors or use natural herbs and prayers to get rid of the problem.

Many Zulu converted to Christianity under colonialism. Although there are many Christian converts, ancestral beliefs have far from disappeared. Instead, there has been a mixture of traditional beliefs and Christianity. This kind of religion is particularly common among urbanites. There are also fervent Christians who view ancestral belief as outdated and sinful.


The Zulu recognize the national holidays of the Republic of South Africa. In addition, they celebrate Shaka's Day every year in September. This holiday is marked by celebrations and slaughtering cattle to commemorate the founder of the Zulu Kingdom. On this important day, Zulu people wear their full traditional attire (clothing and weapons) and gather at Shaka's tombstone, kwaDukuza in Stanger. This is a very colorful day attended by both national and international dignitaries who represent their governments. Izimbongi (praise-poets) sing the praises of all the Zulu kings, from Shaka to the present king, Zwelithini.


Among the Zulu, birth, puberty, marriage, and death are all celebrated and marked by the slaughter of sacrificial animals to ancestors. Birth and puberty are particularly celebrated. To Zulu traditionalists, childlessness and giving birth to girls only are the greatest of all misfortunes. No marriage is permanent until a child, especially a boy, is born.

The puberty ceremony (umemulo) is a transition to full adulthood. Nowadays it is performed only for girls. It involves separation from other people for a period to mark the changing status from youth to adulthood. This is followed by "reincorporation," characterized by ritual killing of animals, dancing, and feasting. After the ceremony, the girl is declared ready for marriage. The courting days then begin. The girl may take the first step by sending a "love letter" to a young man who appeals to her. Zulu love letters are made of beads. Different colors have different meanings, and certain combinations carry particular messages.

Dating occurs when a young man visits or writes a letter to a woman telling her how much he loves her. Once a woman decides that she loves this man, she can tell him so. It is only after they have both agreed that they love each other that they may be seen together in public. Parents should become aware of the relationship only when the man informs them that he wants to marry their daughter.


In contrast to their known warriorism, the Zulu are very warm and amicable people at a personal level. Ubuntu (literally, "humanness," "good moral nature," "good disposition") shapes the everyday life of the Zulu people. This comes from a notion that a human being is the highest of all species. There are hundreds of proverbs written about ubuntu. These proverbs relate to the treatment of people, good and bad behavior, pride, ingratitude, bad manners, moral degeneracy, conceit, cruelty, obstinacy, pretense, helping others, and so forth.

Sawubona is usually enough of a greeting for strangers, but a formal greeting is more appropriate for those who are familiar. The formal greeting includes a three-times handshake, while asking about the well-being of the person and his or her relations (Ninjani?) . Taking leave involves the standard Sala/Nisale kahle (Remain well), and the other person responds by saying, Uhambe/Nihambe kahle (Go well). It is customary for juniors and the young to initiate the greetings when they meet their seniors and their elders.


In South Africa, living conditions cannot be divorced from local politics. Conditions for the Zulu are similar to those of other black people. Zulu in most of the rural areas do not have adequate basic services such as electricity, clean water, formal housing, transport, hospitals, or clinics. Urban Zulu live in the so-called black townships and the areas fringing industrial cities. Their living conditions are, at least, better than those in rural areas. They constitute the Zulu middle class; their lifestyle is usually no different from that of other Western urbanites. Since the education available in rural black schools is inferior, the people in these areas are not equipped to migrate and seek a better life in the urban areas. If they migrate, most end up in the poor areas fringing cities.

In the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, a typical Zulu homestead will be circular and fenced, with a thatched-roof house.


The Zulu term for "family" (umndeni) includes all the people staying in a homestead who are related to each other, either by blood, marriage, or adoption. Most rural households comprise extended families, brothers with their wives, unmarried sisters, children, parents, and grandparents all staying together in the same homestead. As a sign of respect, parents and elders are not called by their first names; instead, kinship names (surnames) are used.

The Zulu family is patriarchal; a man is both the head of the family and the figure of authority. It is not unusual for young men to have as many girlfriends as they wish. If they can afford it, they can take more than one wife when they decide to get married. Traditionally, women were not supposed to go out and work, since they were a man's responsibility. Nowadays the status of Zulu women is slowly improving with more women receiving an education.

Marriage is exogamous; marriage to any person belonging to one's father's, mother's, father's mother's, and mother's mother's clan is prohibited. If it happens, the ukudabula (literally, "cutting of the blood relationship") ritual is performed.


Today, the everyday clothing of a Zulu is no different from that of any modern urbanite. Traditional clothing, however, is very colorful. Men, women, and children wear beads as accessories. Men wear amabheshu , made of goat or cattle skin, which looks like a waist apron, worn at the back. They decorate their heads with feathers and fur. Men also wear frilly goatskin bands on their arms and legs. Women wear isidwaba , a traditional Zulu black skirt made of goat or cattle skin. If a woman is not married, she may wear only strings of beads to cover the top part of the body. If she is married, she will wear a T-shirt. Zulu only wear their traditional clothes on special occasions, such as Shaka's Day and cultural gatherings.

12 • FOOD

The rural Zulu economy is based on cattle and agriculture. Consequently, the main staple diet consists of cow and agricultural products. This includes barbecued and boiled meat; amasi (curdled milk), mixed with dry, ground corn or dry, cooked mealie-meal (corn flour); amadumbe (yams); vegetables; and fruits. The Zulu traditional beer is not only a staple food but a considerable source of nutrition. It is also socially and ritually important and is drunk on all significant occasions.

Drinking and eating from the same plate was and still is a sign of friendship. It is customary for children to eat from the same dish, usually a big basin. This derives from a "share what you have" belief which is part of ubuntu (humane) philosophy.


Illiteracy (inability to read and write) is high among most black South Africans. However, education is slowly improving with the new government. Before, children went to school only if their parents could afford to send them. Schooling started at seven years of age and continued until about twenty-four years of age. Since education was not compulsory, pupils could take their time to finish matric (high school). Passing matriculation (graduating) was and still is regarded as a high achievement by the whole community. After matriculation, those parents who can afford it usually send their children to college.

Education and raising a child is like a cycle among the Zulu. Parents spend all they have to raise and educate their children. In turn, the children take care of their parents and their own children when they start working. A person who breaks this cycle is viewed as a community outcast, one who has forgotten about his or her roots.


The Zulu are fond of singing as well as dancing. These activities promote unity at all the transitional ceremonies such as births, weddings, and funerals. All the dances are accompanied by drums. The men dress as warriors, wave their clubs, and thrust their cowhide shields forward.

Zulu folklore is transmitted through storytelling, praise-poems, and proverbs. These explain Zulu history and teach moral lessons. Praise-poems (poems recited about the kings and the high achievers in life) are becoming part of popular culture.


In the past, only able-bodied men were supposed to work. Before the 1970s, especially in rural areas, being able to send a written letter and get a reply meant that a young boy was ready to go and look for work. Now Zulus want to complete their high school education. In the mind of the Zulu, work should benefit either one's parents or children and siblings. The first salary (or the bigger portion), therefore, is usually given to parents in return for blessings.


Soccer is very popular for both young boys and men. Children learn the game by watching their older brothers play. Whenever boys are together and not engaged in some household or school activity, they play soccer. Young boys, especially those who live next to big rivers, also compete in swimming. Girls, if they are not at school, are expected to assist their mothers in the house. However, they can play games once they have finished their chores. One popular game played by girls, especially in rural KwaZulu, is masishayana/maphakathi. Two girls stand opposite each other, usually not more than 165 feet (50 meters) apart. Another girl stands between them, facing the one who is holding a tennis ball. The idea of this game is to try to hit the girl standing in the middle while she tries to avoid being hit. If the ball hits her or touches her clothes, she is out. Being able to avoid being hit ten times earns the girl a point. Having the most points means winning a game and becoming the best player in your circle of friends. One sport which is participated in by both girls and boys is track and field, an organized school sport.


Ritual ceremonies also serve as part of the entertainment and recreation for the whole community. Zulu custom does not mandate formal invitations to gatherings where food will be served, such as weddings and birthday parties. The Zulu believe that food should be shared. Therefore, uninvited arrival at a celebration is an honor to the host. These celebrations include singing and dancing.

Television is very popular among urban Zulu households. Owning a television set is a luxury for rural Zulu since very few rural areas have electricity. Those who can afford to go to the movies do so. For urban teenagers, American youth culture, especially clothing and music, is very popular. Among adults, stokvels (voluntary or common-interest associations) provide financial assistance, friendship, and recreation.


The Zulu, especially those from rural areas, are known for their weaving, craftmaking, pottery, and beadwork. Women and children weave everyday-use mats, beer sieves, and baskets for domestic purposes. They also make calabashes (decorated gourds used as utensils). Men and boys carve various household objects and ornaments from wood and bone. These include headrests, trays, scrapers, household utensils, and chairs. Beadmaking is mainly women's work because beads are believed to be a way of sending messages without being direct.


The Zulu terms ubuntu and hlonipha summarize everything about human rights. However, it is evident that some individuals in Zulu society, particularly women and children, enjoy fewer human rights than others.


Haskins, J., et al. From Afar to Zulu. New York: Walker and Company, 1995.

Khuzwayo, W. "Kinship Substitutions." Paper presented at the PAAA Conference in Cameroon, West Africa, 1994.

Macnamara, M. World Views. Pretoria: J. L. van Schaik Pty, 1980.

West, M. Abantu. Cape Town: C. Struik Publishers, 1976.


D. W. Web Design. Zulu Anthropology. [Online] Available http://www.africasafari.co.za/traditional.htm , 1998.

Embassy of South Africa, Washington, D.C. [Online] Available http://www.southafrica.net/ , 1998.

Government of South Africa. [Online] http://www.polity.org.za/gnu.html , 1998.

Interknowledge Corp. South Africa. [Online] Available http://www.geographia.com/south-africa/ , 1998.

Southern African Development Community. South Africa. [Online] Available http://www.sadcusa.net/members/safrica/ , 1998.

Also read article about Zulu from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Hey i thihnk that the Zulu people are really amazing :)
this is the best ever site of the zulu tribe well that ive seen anyway im doing this project for school on the zulu tribe and now i wonder were this has been all this time
I would like to teach-Social science, or Biological science or Medical science( Medical Tech) or Religious science in Kwazulu-Natal Province. Can you help me get to that point in my life.I went to Universities in the USA. I only know English can make a damn good English teacher.I am also an Ordained minister.

My wife know four languages.

I am
Hubie Sookram
i am zulu girl and i am so proud to be able to read an amazing article about my culture. there were some few things that i was not aware about my culture, i am from a zuma, msholozi, nxamalala clan. i am a proud zulu woman!!
Thina maZulu siyabantu abane mpatho, i grew up in the rurl areas, i use take the cows for 'diphu' every Thursday and it wsa a butiful experience for a female. Now my life is urbanised i am even sending emails not so interesting.
I love the information you have put on the internet about my people it is very intresting or Hakikuku as my people would say thank u so much
This helps so much...thank you all :)

im only in seventh grade hahah.
I am a girl who also from a Zulu family, i realy appriciate when i hear people say our culure is nice and they love it so i love it too because i'm pratising it now so up the spirty of ZULU CULTURE
twanda garrett
in class we are just learning about this language. i think that this language will be very hard to learn.
Lint Licker
Wow... I zulu and i think this is amazing i like to read about zulu
my name
It helped! Thanks. I didn't even know what Rites of passage ment and I needed it for my project. So thanks.
morgan williams
thanx don't know where i was going to all this info for my project
my name
thankyou for this infomation i am studying for this project and this has everything i need. well done on what you have done it is great. it is so intresting and the Zulu rock!!!
Thank you for all of this information!!! It is very helpful to have all of this info on just one website!!!
kristin and rebecca
this is an awesome site!! so glad i found it thanks lots

~* Kr1$+1N and R3B3((a*~
Big Timmay
strange comments aside....this website is extremely helpful and filled with interesting facts
I really liked this artical and it was filled with information thx.
Rokin robbin
Wow, thx soooo much this is exactly what I needed , im doin sum school stuff and this is the best site for it!!!! U ROCK!!!!

loads of my familylive in Zimbabwe and its kinda cool to know all this stuff

m naidoo
i really would love to learn more this culture trully intersts me
This site really helped me a lot my friend told me about it and i love it! i have a social studies project and this helped a lot recamed this site to anyone who needs help with with social studies homework.
this is a really good website...the only improvement would be Who What When where and why...othwise it is a reall good frikin site
Nate Narcotic
this site really helped a lot with my project.

Nate Narcotic (the cursed poets
i love the zuluz tribe espicaly shaka zulu the greatest leader of the zulu tribe ever.
Iam a Zulu girl too living in the u.s still holding on to my roots humanity love and share
What a wonderful and lovely piece of writing! Keep it up; I am really impressed about this article and I agree with it. I am also a Zulu young man, and you have made me to learn more about my culture!
Thanks for helping me with my zulu project
pls could you do a history website too
Calum Canavan
Thanks for helping me with my project on Africain Culutres of the Zulu tribe, I was surpriesed that there partly Christain.
This helps sooo much with my essay on the Zulu culture! :)
WOW, i did really knew much about my own culture but this website really helped me, but do i wouldh've like to have read more about the sport side of thing, soccer is a more modern game. I would've what to know more about amagende and other games that the Zulu's played and still are...thanx 4 the inform.
zulu information for your guest. seems to be fairly accurate. i've read other articles
i liked the site alot it helped out my school project The MAYANS and now i received top marks
i realy liked this site helped me out with a school project now i got top grades in my class
Pre-marital sex is forbidden in Zulu Culture hence the boy's family is punished through paying damages for impregnating a young maiden. This custom is still being practiced even today.
I am a South African, living in England now though, and have really learnt alot from this website. Thank you. Lovely and So interesting to understand and know about the amazing people that shaped our country.

I have a question that I cannot find an answer to. I have a vague memory of Zulus working on a farm and a child died, and all I remember was alot of chanting/crying singing at the time of death. Is this true?

It was SO LONG ago, I cannot remember if it was real or imagined, I was very young at the time. But I do think it is traditional. I do remember the woman dressing in Blue with White Crosses on their chest too. I know they dressed like this for a certain dureation, but I cannot remember the details. Very frustrating, the dress code could have been more Church based than traditional Zulu grieving I think. But mostly I just want to know about the griving over a death please.

Any information on this would be Greatly appreciated. Thank you
thnx soo much i am doing a scoll project n u helped alot1
This is the best site for the Zulu tribe! But who were the writers that I should put down for a citation?
Hey I'm doing a report on the Zulus, and this was a really good source of information. I noted this site as one of my main sources of information because it was so informative!
Im am doing Zulu people for a school assignment and they are amazing :)
Why parents are making business about their daughters when it comes to paying lobola. Some guys they pay closed to R50 000 for a girl and that is too much. imagine what the couple will do about the money after marriage. but now they will be alot of debts and no food on the table because of that business taking place in KZN. Please parents make it reasonable demand paying lobola is like bringing two families together no a business
I think this article and this website is wonderful I'm in high school it helped me do very good in my SA on Zulu's!!
Wow it is nice to see a wapsite like that i realy appreciate it.this project has been done well.thnx
It is so great bt i want name of the zulu house and music name
dats amazing zulus are so perfect.they own our african culture yes iam proud 2 be in a zulu culture.
thank you for this good information danke für diese Information
peace M.H.
I am a Zulu specialist teacher, and a published author in South Africa in the primary schools there. To answer some of your questions, a Zulu house, is called a rondavel. It is always round in shape, so that no evil spirits can hide in any corner of the house!

Yes - Zulu women will always wear blue dresses with almost like a white apron over it, and a cross, when they worship on a Sunday - not just when there has been a death in the family. It is the uniform of the particular Christian order that they mostly belong to. Zulus are MOSTLY Christians - they are a very God-fearing nation. The urban men do not attend church as much as the urban women.

Very recent research is now showing, that owing to the affirmative action policies brought in since 1994, more Zulu women are now in employment than Zulu men, which has put them in a strong financial position, and is slowly starting to change the inferior way in which these women have been treated for centuries. They are AMAZING people, and I have the utmost respect for them.
teshome ailemayehu
i am really impressed by the peculiar culture of the zulu
Kevin Palacios
Thank you Thank to this website i am getting a lot of info thank you
Awesome Insight! I absolutely Love The Zulu Culture. Amazing!
what a tribe.this tribe is awesome and i am interested to learn isizulu
wow!!! its amazing, thank u so much for this good information. Its really helping me understand more about the zulu cuture.
Really good and interesting. Couldnt know where else to find all of this information for my, 'Facts about Zulus' homework. Going to get me a high level thanks to you!!! :)
I'd like to know the habits n equipment used to cook or prepare the beer for the Zulu culture?
Thanks, I have to do an exam based on this so it really helped; thanks.
Shereka Reena Pierce
Countries and their cultures. I need this article to write the draft to my research paper
Well written, love the article. I am actually going to recommend it to people I know, great source!
It was very interesting and also helped me in preparing the notes for my school project...
I am doing a school assignemnt/oral presentation and i had to pick a group of indigenous people and i chose african zulus because no one was doing them and i looked them up and i found this site! It is very informative and has is very easy to read! Thanks!
Sthembiso Sithole
I'm equally impressed. I'm zulu living in Durban, South Africa. I did not study history in School but tell you what I know a few pieces have come together. Learnt a lot in this website. Thanks a lot.
I am looking for some strong Zulu words that would be appropriate for naming new male & female Lion cubs. Zulu translations for such words as strong, happy, kind, beautiful-girl, smart-one, helper etc. In other words, very positive words. In addition, the best words probably would be those that would be the easiest for Americans to pronounce, out loud, if they can only read the name from a sign.
I would very much like to be the winner in this contest to name the cubs since the winner will get to have a behind the scenes visit with the zookeeper and the cubs. I have a beloved photograph of my father that was taken in 1973 in Africa. It shows him holding a Lion cub. My Dad died in 1990 at age 85, and I would love to frame a picture of myself holding a cub alongside of his photo.
I must submit my entry by Mar. 15th. Anything you could do to help me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Bobbin
i like it because i am doing a progect and this really helped!!

cali dyche
wow what a great article,this website helped me alot with my project and i also learned something about the zulu culture.
Thanks for concise, insightful Zulu information. Helps a lot
Ethan Botes
im doing this project and this awesome site is giving me all the information i need:p
im getting AWSOME pictures and information about zulupeople.
dark lord
this was really helpful for my school project! but I wish it had a paragraph about traditions
I am so proud to be Zulu girl and one thing I like the most is the Zulu Reed Dance Festirval
Thank you for your article! It really helped in getting to know the Zulu's better! I managed to find all the information on my project! I choose this beautiful culture because I like to know other cultures different from my own as a Tourism Student! It is already an honoure that I got this article! I feel like I know the Zulu people already from the information I got! I also appreciate it because it also maid me fall inlove with my friends more who are Zulus! Great tutorial indeed! Thank u!
Menzi sithole
Thank you alot with the information made things easier for me. I am impressed.
joshua rogers
thanks for info very helpful i will visit the website again
phindile shozi
Thanks so much! This culture is awesome and its really cool learning about it!
Bonjour! I come from France, this website gave me a lot of things to wright down, I hope some day we can all learn about these people. Thank you for putting this website online.
Clement nduaguibe
Is there any possibilities that the Zulus migrated as far as to the eastern part of nigeria? My tribe being the ibo tribe in nigeria, practices almost 100 percent of the Zulu culture. I am very interested to know this. Thanks.
cool :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :" :" :) :) you gave me lots of info some of the things they do are really intresting.
some gurl
wow... Thank You!!! This is helping me with my project so much!!! :) this is great information!
I am from India and always eager to know about different cultures. This is indeed an informative article. Thanks.
this site is wonderful i got lots of help by using this site i am proud as a zulu person
Wow well said, I like Particular the clarity you gave about ancestry, there is a miss conception that Zulus worship ancestors, which in not the case, Zulus believe and worship one God (uMvelinqangi, uNkulunkulu), but ancestors act like guide angels, and mediators between God and mankind..
@ Clement Nduaguibe, it might be true if one looks at history records,the ancient history of the Nguni (in which Zulus are part of), we're people who migrated from Egypt with king Ntu to the Great Lakes region of sub-equatorial Central/East Africa. Then we migrated further south with king Nguni (Hence Nguni people are named after) along the eastern part of southern Africa in our southward move from central Africa. As you know some groups split off and settled along the way, while others kept going.
When I was in Nigeria there is a tribe that called a bird INYONI in their native language, in which INYONI is also a Zulu word meaning a bird.
you should add holidays and festivals since I am English I want to know more about the Zulu traditions
Thank you all for your comments: This is a very informative site about our culture and it realy helps a lot.

I would like to add more valuable knowledge about this great nation. According to AmaZulu: the name itself means -Heaven-( iZulu) we got Zulu Language- then is Zulu as a Surname the province is kwazulu natal and the soghum beer is called isizulu.

Right someone ask above about food we got( izinkobe) mealies with beans-(imfino) the herbs(isigwaqane or isithwalaphishi) beans with maize meal (isinkwa sombila) pure mealies bread no flour added (meats all kind from birds to cows ) those are well known ones although moslty plenty dishes.

Soghum beer (isizulu) used to be made of wheat now we buy imithombo from shops they still have wheat but with all added stuff in it to make the (utshwala) beer to be ready quick.

One question about the funeral above: the truth now those ppl you saw singing and crying mostly the close family will be morning crying and others will be singing I know it will be confusing for ppl who are from different backround that why is great to learn other ppl beliefs and norms: to be exact now the ladies that were wearing those dresses are under zion church with crosses at their back they were doing (isikhalanga) moving around the coffin it actualy not dancing it shows respect to the dead and asking the creater to receive the dead soul.

The house is called (iqhugwane) no wall only sticks and grass all over the newer ones are called (u-round ) rondevel this ones are made of wall (amasoyi) and timber plus grass roof amasoyi is the natural soil block u se a spade to dig it from hard surface today you can make your rondavel with blocks and iron roof or Tiles

Few lessons

Sawubona: means Hello to one person
Sanibona :to two or many
Unjani :how are u
Ninjani :hw re u all(two to many ppl)

All Zulu names got meanings I believe all African names got meaning you can not give a child name without knowing the meaning of a name the famous names are Siphiwe- ( we are Gifted a child by God) Thandeka (Lovable) Lindiwe (waiting for) Sinikiwe(Gifted by God) Bongumusa (thanking God grace) Xolani (Make peace) Zinhle (Beatiful) Smangele( we are surprise) Zanele) we have enough girls funny isn't mostly one family will give this name once they the have plenty daughters some will give if they are saying we have enough daughters now we are asking for a son now intersting ne to be honest to AmaZulu to have a son is the priority even Married women if they don't have a son. They always fill inferior to others although it changing now but still a son is a must to the Zulus

I hope I added good and fruitful info to this article Ngiyabonga nisale kahle
This zulu girl is proud to be one and greatfull to this information so well arranged.Many people claim to have any relation with zulus in the most impossible ways,i also deny any relation with any nigerians or zimbabwians for that matter.Being a nguni is one thing but a zulu just another-this are two different things.To all zulu people-let's continue with this legacy our grandfathers so much fought for-Lindiwe
really useful site helped me a lot to find the information i wanted
This site has helped SO MUCH with my school assessment!
Boitumelo Mathebula
Hy am doing a research assignment on Zulu culture,the information I got hear is relevant and useful to my assignment,but I can't u use this information without referencing it.please help me by telling me how do I reference this site,because I can't the website.thank you
I grew up on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and my best friends were the Zulus whose parents worked on the farm. We got into all kinds of boyish mischief and the moms would tut-tut disapprovingly while the dads would literally roar with laughter and appreciation when we related what we did back at the evening campfire for a simple meal of mealie pap around the fire at the camp. Zulus love children and boys most especially. They greatly value strength and courage. Skinny men are seen as unsuccessful while "bigger" men show their abundance not only of physical stature but also of community stature and success.
Most Zulus on farms still sleep on the floor on a straw floor mat, if they can afford it they stack up a bed on bricks to elevate it and keep it out of reach of the tokoloshe (Zulu demon who is basically a very short troll who brings misfortune). Many rural Zulus remain dreadfully afraid of the Tokoloshe today. Beliefs remain strong despite western influence, including common use of Sangomas (witch doctors) some of which have horrific supposed cures to a broad spectrum of ailments (from AIDS to toothaches). It's half helpful half totally harmful. In my memory of the farm, a local witch doctor prescribed drinking a mix of sorghum beer and bleach to cure insomnia... and many have died to procure body parts used for "curing" ailments, including children. There are dark practices here. That said, Zulus are among the warmest people on earth. Generous and kind, who truly live the spirit of Ubuntu and community. They welcome strangers and default to treating others with respect. At the same time, one who treats others with disrespect is not tolerated and the Zulu form of disapproval is direct and confrontational. They are an action-oriented people, taking pride in working hard and fighting hard, and are generally considered among the most fearless and brave of the warriors on the African continent. Shaka is rumored to have created the short stabbing spear and the large cowhide shields, as well as the "horns of the bull" military strategy that conquered multiple tribes in what was previously a fairly non-violent approach to war (throwing of longer spears while remaining largely stationary in two distanced groups). Zulus today remain proud and noble and consider themselves children of heaven, and a more noble tribe than those surrounding them - similar to I think how Hebrews of the twelve families of Israel view themselves. In this world view, Zulus view Ubuntu as pertaining to other Zulus primarily, and other tribes less. South Africa has an amazing history of many proud tribes, including Xhosa and Ndebele, Afrikaners and Khoi-San, that is worth reading about. Good luck with the report!
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This will do great for my homework thanks to this website I hope I get it correct
Yster Steyn Le Roux
I have a question. How should a Zulu Nkosi e.g. Nkosi Gatsha Buthelezi, be approaced a) by members of his staff after being absent for a while and b) By strangers welcoming him to their offices ? In other words what is the protocol in addressing the Chief and what physical actions apply such as bowing, lowering gaze etc. ?
Boitumello the original article is on "Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures: Africa and Middle East, Volume 9" and the year of publication was 1999. The article was written by Welile Khuzwayo. The same author and her colleagues Nchongi Ngwenya, Faith Ramaboka and Nonhlanhla Lethwane will be placing books online focusing on how one becomes a traditional leader/king amongst various ethnic groups in South Africa. Three books have already been published. Another book that will be published this year will focus on Customary Protocol Guidelines for Kings and Queens in South Africa. It covers the do's and don'ts when one is around an African King/Queen or visiting an African royal palace. Some of the information in this book will be incorporated in the South African State Protocol Guidelines. Yster Le Roux, please note that the book will be out soon,. It covers all the ethnic groups in SA. Thank you for your positive and encouraging comments on the Zulu article.
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Hompatoka Wahwassuck
I'm a Native American i'm part of the Osage Tribe and i have found similarity's of both of the mine and zulu cultural
i had everything i needed here for my project the is due to tomorrow thx
This really helps me out im doing a project on the Zulu tribe and i found this and it really improved my slide shoe
Thank you it really helped me for my project. This article is very good
What about their hunting systems? Because I am sure they did some sort of hunting wild animals like warthogs and perhaps buffaloes and springboks. That kind of information is essential because we might never know what might just happen in the world because next thing we back to being primitives and not being tamed into living according to western customs as we are today.
I wish it had a paragraph about tradition to help me with my school prodject

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