Eating Ashes: How Zulu Subsistence Methods and Culture Changed After the Anglo-Zulu War

Powerful Essays
Eating Ashes
How Zulu Subsistence Methods and Culture Changed After the Anglo-Zulu War
Benjamin J. McInnis
ANT101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Instructor Mitra Rokni

Eating Ashes: How Zulu Subsistence Methods and Culture Changed After the Anglo-Zulu War

The Zulu people of South Africa made an unprecedented development from a single clan of pastoralists much like the other clans and tribes in the area of modern KwaZulu-Natal (Sithole, 2002. “Zulu Orientation”. para. 1) to a great nation with the rise of King Shaka in the 1820’s (Etherington, 2004. p. 159). Through revolutionary tactics begun by his predecessor Chief Tingeswio, King Shaka united all of the tribes in the area “under the name of Zulus” (Etherington, 2004. p. 159). After the defeat of the Zulu nation by the British in the 1880’s (Sithole, 2002. “History and Cultural Relations”. para. 2), the Zulu people went from a pastoralist culture with land allocated by local chiefs to “subsistence agriculturalists” forced to work for white land owners (Sithole, 2002. “Land Tenure”). The defeat of the Zulu Nation and its annexation by the British profoundly changed the Zulu method of subsistence which in turn affected their culture at every level.
History
According to the Encyclopedia of Archaeology(2008), “ …‘mixed farming’…a form of intensive agriculture consisting of domesticated animal and crop production as food sources where the maintenance of soil fertility results from the use of animal manure as fertilizer”, was introduced to Southern Africa by the Bantu speaking people who migrated from the East (“Herders, Farmers, and Metallurgists of South Africa”. p.p. 1,6). This introduction of subsistence technology, including new crops, livestock, and the introduction of metallurgy in the form of iron and copper, changed the South African people, including the Zulu, from foragers to pastoralists in a very short period of time (2008). By the second millennium C.E.,



References: BJERK, P. K. (2006). They poured themselves into the milk: Zulu political philosophy under shaka. Journal of African History, 47(1), 1-19. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/229581736?accountid=32521 Deflem, M. (1999). Warfare, political leadership, and state formation: The case of the zulu kingdom, 1808-1879. Ethnology, 38(4), 371-391. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/205102576?accountid=32521 Etherington, N. (2004). Were there large states in the coastal regions of southeast africa before the rise of the zulu kingdom?*. History in Africa, 31, 157-183. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/274597287?accountid=32521 Hamilton, C., & Epprecht, M. (1999). [Terrific majesty: The powers of shaka zulu & the limits of historical invention]. Canadian Journal of History, 34(3), 423-426. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/194332784?accountid=32521 “Herders, Farmers, and Metallurgists of South Africa”.(2008). In Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Retrieved from: http://www.credoreference.com/entry/estarch/herders_farmers_and_metallurgists_of_south_africa Sithole, Mpilo. "Zulu." Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement. 2002. Retrieved July 30, 2012 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3458100110.html

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    Shaka and Zulu

    • 2402 Words
    • 10 Pages

    The extreme pressure for the Zulu to find new land because of drought caused an expansion in territory and led to a series of wars for control which was dubbed Mfecane. The Mfecane was a period of warfare between different ethnic groups which led to many changes in the political structure of Southern Africa. This series of wars called the Mfecane was revolutionary during 1817-1828 (www.bbc.co.uk) and it was mainly due to the abolition of the Trans – Atlantic slave trade, coupled with the increase in population, also with the loss of natural resources, and the economic restructuring moving from slaves being the main economic trade to the search for a new method resulted in a major change in southern Africa. During the Mfecane many people died because of the sheer warfare that was happening during this time, and with this catastrophe many more people lost their homes and territories. At the heart of the Mfecane was Shaka who saw the old small stateless communities and turned his entity Zulu into a large scale political entity with large armies and because of Shaka this time turned out to be one of major expansion in Southern Africa. Shaka and the Zulu were at the heart of the Mfecane and are the most important part to shed light on, but the Mfecane also saw the creation and expansion of many other nations which should be discussed further as well. To further illustrate a look at what caused the Mfecane, The kingdom of Zulu and their leader Shaka, and the expansion and creation of other kingdom's during the time of the Mfecane.…

    • 2402 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Shaka Zulu

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages

    I'm going to you on a trip of about 1,200 kilometers around the Zulu Nation. Everywhere there were empty skulls of a people driven off their land. Farm homes without windows, windows without curtains, gardens overgrown and dying, staff quarters empty and lifeless. Old farm equipment, rusting in the broken down shed, hungry cattle alone, because there parents had to be slaughter to produce poultry. Vultures having a feast day, like it is thanksgiving. The greatest Zulu leader in history, Shaka Zulu, often known as the Napoleon of African history, was responsible.…

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Their leader Shaka had planted all his ideas and teachings into the Zulu people and because of him, they had this fearless persona about them to. All they were known for was wreaking havoc and growing their already growing empires with trained a killer, which was going to be a problem. I resented the British Laws that was passed to abolish slavery. If they never passed these laws things would have never changed and this would have never stroked their already growing egos. These laws caused us Boers to revolt and try to escape British rule. This was one of the key opponents that lead us into battle with the Zulu people. These ignorant, blood-thirsty, man slaying, people are dangerous. They start countless wars and make a lot of enemies which would hurt them because they were creating countless enemies. The only thing that they know how to do is how to kill and to start war amongst themselves, when we were trying to compromise with them. We was only trying to teach these barbaric people some of our ways and to civilize them, trying to help the blacks of the South Africa. All the “Great” King of The Zulu Land had to do was disband his military and recognize Britain’s authority, or face invasion. As usual they chose what they knew how to do best, which was how to start war. The same British people that passed the slave abolishing law for these people they were now going into war with them. So not only did they have wars with Boers they also had war with the British now to, how ironic. Even though I despise these people they were very courageous. It’s almost funny how the Zulu’s thought they could defeat us with their sticks. They knew that they could not have stopped us with their assegai which was basically a spear, while we…

    • 619 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Zulu Culture

    • 2262 Words
    • 10 Pages

    When it comes to surviving, Zulu culture is the largest number of community members in South Africa because ten to eleven million of people are in the culture. Men usually have too many wife’s and children to support, this might be the reason why there is a lot of sickness in the Zulu culture.…

    • 2262 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Ap Euro Dbq Essay

    • 1105 Words
    • 5 Pages

    * The rise of the Zulu led to the mfecane, or the wars of crushing and wandering.…

    • 1105 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Zulu Traditional Dance

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Zulu means the people of heaven, which is a friendly and hospitable culture. They have an expressive language punctuated with distinctive click sounds. The Zulu people are proud of their nation and treasure their heritage. During the 16th and 17th centuries, they had a powerful king named Shaka Zulu. He helped expand the Zulu tribe territory and claimed that he was king of all Africa. Many cultures in Africa today still have traditions that were influenced by the Zulu people even after their downfall. One of the most noticeable rituals that most cultures in eastern and southern Africa have in common is the Zulu dance.…

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Working Papers are edited by Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Forum 6, D-55099 Mainz, Germany. Tel. +49-6131-3923720; Email: ifeas@uni-mainz.de; http://www.ifeas.uni-mainz.de http://www.ifeas.uni-mainz.de/workingpapers/Arbeitspapiere.html Geschäftsführende Herausgeberin/ Managing Editor: Eva Spies (espies@uni-mainz.de)…

    • 39804 Words
    • 160 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Sharpville Massacre

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages

    5. FET NCS Series, S.G., M.M., G.P., 2006, New Generation History Grade 11 Learner’s Book, Durban, South Africa. Chapter 8 pg294-295.…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Best Essays

    Zulu

    • 2140 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Culture can be defined as “peoples’ culture, in its broadest sense, is a complete way of life designed by a people in their collective endeavour to live harmoniously with one another and also come to terms with their total environment” (Lecture notes,2013:70). This quote further explains that this term of culture rules people who fit in with this concept. Due to their being such a diverse world, there is also many diverse cultures which is yet to be explored. However this essay will be focusing on the African culture which these people are associated within the African continent (Lecture notes,2013:70). More specifically the ethnic group within this vast African continent will be the Zulu speaking people in terms of ilobolo (Lecture notes,2013:74). The expense of lobolo was later organized when the first edition of the “Natal Code of Zulu Law” (South African Law Commission,1988) was declared in 1878 and then modified in 1891. The most important piece of information was the prearrangement of 11 ilobolo cattle to be delivered to the brides family (Welsh,1971). This essay will be explaining lobola with the various different stages in detail as well as stating whether this custom is still relevant in today’s society or not.…

    • 2140 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    South Africa

    • 3041 Words
    • 13 Pages

    The earliest representatives of South Africa's diversity – at least the earliest we can name – were the San and Khoekhoe peoples…

    • 3041 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Shaka Zulu

    • 652 Words
    • 19 Pages

    Shaka Zulu, also known as Shaka kaSenzangakhona, was the most influential leader in the Zulu Kingdom. Shaka was the first son of the chieftain Senzangakhona and Nandi, a daughter of Bhebhe, the past chief of the Elangeni tribe, born near present day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. In his early days, Shaka served as a warrior under the sway of local chieftain Dingiswayo and the Mthethwaa, to whom the Zulu were then paying tribute. Shaka granted permission to Europeans to enter Zulu territory on rare occasions. Henry Francis Fynn provided medical treatment to the king after an assassination attempt from a rival tribe member hidden in a crowd. To show his gratitude, Shaka permitted European settlers to enter and operate in the Zulu kingdom. This would open the door for future British incursions into the Zulu kingdom that were not so peaceful. Shaka observed several demonstrations of European technology and knowledge, but held that the Zulu way was superior to that of the foreigners. On the death of Senzangakona, Dingiswayo aided Shaka to defeat his brother and assume leadership. Shaka began to further refine the ibutho system used by Dingiswayo and others and with Mthethwa's support over the next several years, forged alliances with his smaller neighbors, to counter the growing threat from Ndwandwe raiding from the north. The initial Zulu manoeuvres were primarily defensive in nature, as Shaka preferred to intervene or apply pressure diplomatically, aided by occasional judicious assassinations. His changes to local society built on existing structures. Although he preferred social and propagandistic political methods, he also engaged in a number of battles, as the Zulu sources make clear. Young boys aged six and over joined Shaka's force as apprentice warriors and served as carriers of rations, supplies like cooking pots and sleeping mats, and extra weapons until they joined the main ranks. It is sometimes held that such support was used…

    • 652 Words
    • 19 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    References: Ballard, C., 1981. The Role of Trade and Hunter-traders in the Political Economy of Natal and Zululand, 1824-1880, s.l.: African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison.…

    • 1071 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Zulu Culture

    • 2245 Words
    • 9 Pages

    In my research I will share information on the Zulu Tribe, which is one of South Africa's largest ethnic group population that is estimated about 10-11 million people. The majority of the people live in KwaZulu-Natal Natal Province which is also referred as Zululand. Other Tribes or groups live in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. The Zulu reside in the rural part of South Africa. This culture of people raise cattle and also grow corn and vegetables such as beans, yams, and millet. Traditional Zulu society has chiefs and a King who represent all the Zulu culture. Today the Zulu traditional structure clashes with the present central and democratic government of South Africa. Men play the dominate role in the Zulu family, the Zulu women are renowned for the bead craft, basket weaving, and pottery, the men are crafted in wood and object made out of animal skin. The Zulu people have faced many wars and conflicts with the government, however since 1994 when Nelson Mandela became president and the end of apartheid, the new South African government has ended many battles with in the last ten years. The Zulu’s economic organization, beliefs and values, and social organization are what make them an emerging agriculturalist.…

    • 2245 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    It is rather a daunting task to sort out the way the kingdom of Nkhamanga was organised. The contrasting views by historians give testimony to this. There are those historians who contend that Chikulamayembe exercised both political and economic influence in vast kingdom that stretched from Dwangwa to the south to Songwe River in the north and from Lake Malawi in the east to Luangwa River in the west. The opposing school of thought challenges the idea of a political kingdom arguing that economic factors were more important than political factors in the state of Nkhamanga. Despite these disputing interpretations of the organisation of the kingdom of Nkhamanga, the theme that runs in most literature is that the Tumbuka, long before the intrusion of immigrant in the 19th century, has been a feeble political organisation where clans were independent of each. Every clan had a leader who controlled the affairs of that clan in a loose decentralised political system. In this essay, it is argued that the kingdom of Nkhamanga was more of an economic ‘empire’ than a political kingdom. As much as some of these clan leaders were more powerful and could control more than one clan such as the Luhanga clan, absence of a strong centralised political organisation explains that the influence of the state was anchored in the economy. It was the economic activities that expanded the kingdom other than political transformation.…

    • 2108 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Zulu Culture

    • 277 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Maphumulo Uprising War, Law and Ritual in Zulu Rebellion (The International Journal of African Historical Studies)…

    • 277 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays

Related Topics