The Zulu Tribe
Originated AmaZulu believing they’re descendants of the patriarch Zulu, born to an Nguni Chief in the Congo Basin area 16th Century Zulu migrated southward, incorporating customs of the San, African Bushmen. Between the years of 1816-1828 the Zulu became the mightiest military force in S. African, increasing their land from 100 square miles to 11,500. Under the rule of King Shaka, they entered into treaties with English colonizers. Mparde was their next King and he allowed the British take extensive control over his people. Dying 1872, the Zulu said enough of the English invasion. Catewayo, King after Mpande tried to avoid confrontation with the British for 6 years, but a war erupted in 1879. With little success Zulu lost the battle within six months. Cetewayo was exiled to England and the Zulu kingdom was divided into British advantage. The last Zulu uprising against European domination was led by Chief Bombatha in 1906. In recent times Chief Gastha Buthelezi has doubled as the political leader of the Zulu and the head of Inkatha Freedom Party, leading the fight against Apartheid and the ANC, demanding a voice for his people who are more than 3 million strong.
The Zulu tribe is both pastoralist and rudimentary agriculturists, Nguni wealth was measured in cattle and farm corn and vegetables. Men herd the cattle while the women tend to the family and the harvest. Zulu gender history has become a part of a larger debate connected to the changing of political and academic milieu in S. Africa. The gender roles of Zulu are clearly delineated, with the boys and men being organized as warriors in support of the King. The Zulu women take pride in caring for children and the elderly. A childless woman is frowned upon, and often loses any sorts of status associated with being a wife. The women of the Zulu tribe wear clothes based on their marital status. Single women wear short skirts made of grass or beaded cotton strings. They don’t wear clothing on the upper portion of their bodies and keep their hair short. Engaged women let thrir hair grow, and covers her breast with a decorative cloth. Shows respect to her futrure family and says she’s spoken for. Married women must comer their body completely. Says she’s off limits to toher men, they also have to wear a hat on their head. Zulu women go through a “21 day pruification” this is when they get their first menstrual cycle, without it the women are looked at as dirty. Zulu women always do the chores, collect wood, water, make the beer etc. “ The most fulfillment of responsibility of Arican women Is being heavily involved in protection of their children.” ( Bernard Magubane and Mandaza Whither South Africa? Pg 156) The Zulu population is divided relatively in half between the rural and urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal. The Zulu men are in charge of the household and represent the family in public meetings. The Zulu are divided into tribes with each having its chief, who in turn owes his allegiance to the king. Zulus practice polygamy and the first wife and grandmother exert more influence over the household than the other wives.
The Zulu respect and fear the dead. Their spirits are said to wonder after death and must be ritually brought back after a year with the eating of maize and a sacrificed animal, and a special “calling of the spirit” ceremony. Restless ancestors are said to be the source of many illnesses. Zulus believe in the sacriice of animals to the dead. They also offer their ancestors beer. Beer is and important part of Zulu life as it I s an essential part of every ceremony or freast. There were two types of sacrifices. The Thanksgiving sacrifice is in celebration of good crops, and life going well called ukubongo. The 2nd is the scolding sacrifice which is ollowed by many unexpected deaths, or a bad spate of events called ukuthetha. They also believe in a God – type figure...
References: • http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/zulu
• Women, Marginality and the Zulu State: Women 's Institutions and Power in the Early Nineteenth Century, Sean Hanretta , The Journal of African History, Vol. 39, No. 3 (1998), pp. 389-415
• Zululand, Its Traditions, Legends and Customs, L.H Samuelson, Kessinger Publishing, Apr 1, 2003
• Haskins, J., et al. From Afar to Zulu. New York: Walker and Company, 1995
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