Traditional Tribal Clothing CustomsWomen dress according to their marital status. An eligible and single Zulu woman shows the pride she has of her body by flaunting it and wearing skirts made out of grass or beaded cotton strings. A married woman will cover her body to indicate to others that she is taken. An engaged Zulu woman will naturally grow her hair and cover her chest with decorative cloth as a sign of respect to her in laws.
The traditional attire for men is umqhele (warrior's headband) , amambatha to put over the shoulders, ibheshu (acts as a trouser) around the waist, umcedo (used as underwear) to cover the genitalia, and imbadada for his foot.
Traditional BeveragesAmazi, fermented milk, is considered a delicacy and may only be shared with family members. The milk is curdled in a gourd and the whey contents are removed. The taste is described as a mix of cottage cheese and plain yogurt. Zulus believes that amazi makes men strong. Amasi also improves digestion.
Beer - Beer brewing is a three-day process that Zulu women are obliged to fulfil. Maize and sorghum (grain plant) are soaked in water for a day. The content is then boiled with dry sorghum and set to cool of. On the third day the brew is filtered, using a sieve, and it can be consumed the same day.
Traditional FoodZulu culinary are mainly vegetarian dishes that predominantly consists of vegetables and grain. Starch is a dietary staple and they take form in pap (porridge) and beer. Maize, pumpkins and potatoes are common ingredients used to in traditional dishes. Oxen are only slaughtered on special occasions such as weddings and coming of age ceremonies. Traditional Zulus eat with wooden bowls and spoons. Before meals, hands are washed and after meals mouths are rinsed.
Zulu WarriorsDisputes between men within the tribe are publicly addressed through stick fighting. The duel is over as soon as blood flows and the winner then tends the wounds of the loser. In the event of death, there is no charge as long as the rules were abided. In 1879, Zulu warriors had their greatest success in warfare against 1 500 British troops.
DancesDrums are an essential part of Zulu celebrations and it is always accompanied by dancing and chanting. The ingungu drum is made of goatskin, that has been cleaned and stripped from its hair, and a black clay pot. To play it you have to position a flattened piece of reed on the drum and vibrate it with both hands. The ingungu is played to celebrate the start of a young woman's first menstruation.
There are a number of dances in Zulu culture that celebrates different areas of life. The hunting dance symbolizes the bravery it requires to hunt by imitating the movements of hunters. The dance is performed during ceremonies before warriors go out to hunt. To avoid injury sticks are used instead of spears.
The dance of the small shield is a rhythmic dance that encourages military unity and it is normally performed at royal occasions.
Like many cultures, the Zulu people believe that life doesn't end with death but continues in the spiritual world. Death is seen as a person's deeper connection with all creation. Every person who dies within the Zulu tribe must be buried the traditional way. If not done the traditional way, the deceased may become a wandering spirit. An animal is slaughtered as a ritual. The deceased's personal belongings is buried with them to aid them in their journey. Ancestor Worship
Ancestors are believed to live in the spirit world unKulunkulu (the greatest of the great) and are regarded as intermediaries between the living and the spirit world and they work hand in hand with God. Zulu beliefs are formed around the presence of ancestral spirits, known as amadlozi and abaphansi. Ancestors' presence comes in the form of dreams, sickness and snakes. Opportune times to communicate with ancestors are during birth, puberty, marriage and death.
Contact with ancestors are made to ask them for blessings, good luck, fortune, guidance and assistance. Ancestors are implored through offerings and sacrifices. Home-brewed beer and slaughtering animals are some of the common forms of offerings.
Bad luck is considered to be the work of an evil spirit and to rid with the issue a traditional healer, known as a sangoma, communicates to the spirit with the help of prayer and herbs.