The Zulu Nation

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The Zulu
Deion Johnson
SCU University
Anthropology
Patty Ryan
December, 3 2012

The Zulu Nation

The Zulu culture is one of the most unique cultures. This culture was an independent nation located in South Africa. We will examine their belief and their values, the kinship and also the political organization in the Zulu culture. The Zulu culture is located in South Africa in the territory called the Kwa-zulu –Natal Province. The Kwa-zulu – Natal Province is a beautiful place, which consist of sandy beaches, plain hills and streaming rivers. In their language Zulu means heaven. There are over seven million Zulu today that still live in Kwa-Zulu-Natal Province (Gleimius & Mthimunye, 2003).The Zulu today still follow all of the customs of their ancestors, from their beliefs to their political organization in the culture. The Zulu culture political system consists of kings, these kings ruled over “tribe or clan” (Mahoney, 1879). The political organization of the Zulu culture is more of a monarchy. The king holds the judicial and legislative power. The legislation contain of a group of men known as counsel or headsmen. These headsmen are head of the important families to the king, to advise him on certain matters (Mackinnon, 2001). Members of the king’s family would fight each other to become king, if they felt that the king did not deserve the crown, they would challenge the crown holder. The Zulu culture had a very advance political system which gave the king authority over the tribe. The political system also consists of a very strong and brilliant military force. In 1816, Shaka Zulu was one of the greatest military generals to come into power in South Africa (An African Biographical Dictionary, 2006). Shaka Zulu father was a minor chief, which shows that he was part of the royal family. Shaka Zulu murdered and killed all of his relatives to make sure he did not have any conflict regarding the royal crown (An African Biographical Dictionary, 2006). This shows that Shaka Zulu did not want any of his relatives to challenge him for the crown. The military force under Shaka Zulu power destroyed all neighboring clans and tribes, Shaka was one of the best military strategists that conquered and terrified all his opponents. An African Biographical Dictionary, (2006) stated that “At his death, Shaka's empire included about 250,000 people. The Zulu nation remained a powerful element in southern Africa until its defeat by the British in 1879. The Zulu have remained a united people and an important factor in modern South African politics”. The Zulu nation was an independent nation from 1810 to 1879. The British Empire came in and they invaded the Natal Province. The Zulu culture was under the British administration from 1879-1897. The Zulu nation regained their independence back from the British in 1897 (Mahoney, 2012). The political system was still in effect, even after the Zulu culture was under the British administration. There were two chiefs that ruled over the Zulu Nation which were, Cetshwayo from 1874-1884 and also Dinizulu who ruled from 1884-1914 (Mahoney, 2012). After the British, the Zulu Nations political organization became more organized and structured. The Zulu culture kinship is known as an extended family. The blood relation is an important part in Zulu life. The only way to establish rank is though the father. They use the extended kinship in this culture, if child losses his or her parents, then he will not be an orphan, someone else will take on the responsible for the child. The Zulu culture has many tribes and clans. The clans of the Nguni were polygamous if the man was wealthy and have a status among the people, and then he could have as many wives (Knight, 1989). The other clans of the Zulu culture are based on monogamous even though polygamy is still practiced in the Zulu culture (Mpilo, 2002). According to Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement...
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