Zulu People

Topics: Zulu, South Africa, Shaka Pages: 6 (2140 words) Published: January 30, 2012
The People of the Zulu Culture: Past, Present and Future
The Zulu Culture is one filled with rich traditions and achievements can be found throughout centuries, even in contemporary society. The people have fascinating stories and folklores that they embrace and that influence many of their current values and beliefs. The people are known for their great works in art and the impact that it has on current society. Their culture and beliefs that although are different than the cultures found in other areas make them a unique society. Their trials throughout history make the Zulu people a fascinating group to explore in order to better understand their belief systems. The Zulu culture’s beliefs and values, gender relations and family, economy, and political systems make them truly a distinct group. The origins of the Zulu culture can be traced back through thousands of years of history. Uli Von Kapff describes the Zulu culture as “hundreds of small clans” that lived in “the northern regions of kwaZulu-Natal on the eastern seaboard of South Africa” in the 18th century (2011). Therefore, the Zulu nation is a diverse group of different people that all came together to form one nation. The area is a fertile area due to its geographic area. This made it easier for the Zulu people to make a living for their families. The people of the Zulu Culture can mainly be described as emerging agriculturalist since their main source of industry comes from farming and cattle herding (Van Den Berghe, 2012). So, growing fruits and vegetables and migrating animals as needed were the main sources of income for this group. This means that the Zulu people were not as technologically advanced as societies that were using industrialism, but farming was a popular way of life for that particular area. This particular way of life was also very common in the century that the Zulu people lived in, so it was not considered underdeveloped or futile in any way.  

A History of Controversy
Like many cultures and groups that settle in particular areas that may be believed popular for economic gain etc., there was controversy among the Zulu people as well as with outsiders in the area and from afar. For example, the Zulu people were led under a King Shaka for many years. During this time, articles describe the Zulu as a powerful military force that eventually fell hands to the English, who would eventually control the people for a great deal of time (1998). The Zulu people may have endured several years of tyranny during this time. The people however still endured these difficult times throughout many years. Some of the famous battles that have been cited throughout history include the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879, the massacre of Voortrekker in 1838, and the Battle at Ndondakusuka in 1856 (Uli Von Kapff, 2012). In the Battle of Isandlwana, the Zulu people defeated over 1500 British troops and were considered one of the greatest battles for the Zulu people at that time. In the massacre of Voortrekker Piet Retief, over 3,000 people lost their lives under the direction of King Dingane. In the battle of Ndondakusuka Cetshwayo killed his brother, gaining control of the Zulu people. In this battle it is estimated that over 20,000 died and considered one of the worse battles in Zulu history. As with all war, many lose lives. The Zulu people were no exception as they struggled and fought for the things that they believed were significant such as land, freedom, honor, etc. Among the Zulu people, conflicts were handled many by engaging in stick fighting between Zulu males (Uli Von Kapff, 2012). In stick fighting, an official oversees the fighters in a public arena. The officials allow each man to have a club, stick, and shield. Once blood is seen, the man that made the damaging blow helps the victim and they make peace. These rituals help the Zulu people settle their disputes without resorting to killing or war between them. The practice is a good way to end...
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