Economic and Political Systems of the Zulu Culture

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  • Topic: Zulu, Shaka, Politics
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Economic and Political Systems of the Zulu Culture

Zulu Economy: Rural Zulu raise cattle and farm corn and vegetables for subsistence purposes. The men and herd boys are primarily responsible for the cows, which are grazed in the open country, while the women do most, if not all, of the planting and harvesting. The women also are the owners of the family house and have considerable economic clout within the family. In the urban areas of South Africa, Zulu, and in fact all Africans, are limited to labor intensive work and domestic duties. Even as Apartheid as an institution has been dismantled, it is still extremely difficult for Africans to compete for jobs for which they have not been trained, and the country is still entrenched in de facto racism.

Political Violence: From 1985, members of opposing protest movements in what is now KwaZulu-Natal began engaging in bloody armed clashes, with combatants armed with AK-47's and machetes. This political violence occurred primarily between Inkatha and ANC members, and included atrocities committed by both sides. It was believed to be frequently instigated by a branch of the apartheid government's security forces, which became known as the "third force". The violence continued through the 1980s, and escalated in the 1990s in the build up to the first national elections in 1994.

Political System: As is evident by the history of the Zulu, the leader, or chief, is invested with power based on his genealogy. He plays an important part in the internal governing of the Zulu homeland and also acts as a voice for his people on an international level. Although the Zulu are officially ruled by the government of South Africa, they often act as a dissenting voice on the national scene.

The Nature of Zulu Political Transformations

Another matter that has not been adequately resolved is whether the political changes in the Zulu territory entailed a radical break from traditional power structures. Even if the political...
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