The Zulu (Zulu: amaZulu) are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa
and the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated
10–12 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia,
Tanzania and Mozambique.
2.1 Conflict with the British
2.2 Absorption into Natal
3.2 Inkatha YeSizwe
4 Modern Zulu population
7 Religion and beliefs
8 Notable Zulus
9 See also
11 External links
The Zulu were originally a major clan in what is today Northern
KwaZulu-Natal, founded ca. 1709 by Zulu kaMalandela. In the Nguni
languages, iZulu means heaven, or weather. At that time, the area
was occupied by many large Nguni communities and clans (also called
isizwe=nation, people or isibongo=clan or family name). Nguni
communities had migrated down Africa's east coast over centuries, as
part of the Bantu migrations probably arriving in what is now South
Africa in about the 9th century.
Shaka, king of the Zulu. After a sketch by Lt. James King, a Port
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Main article: Zulu Kingdom
The Zulu formed a powerful state in 1818 under the leader Shaka.
Shaka, as the Zulu King, gained a large amount of power over the
tribe. As commander in the army of the powerful Mthethwa Empire, he
became leader of his mentor Dingiswayo's paramouncy and united what
was once a confederation of tribes into an imposing empire under Zulu
Conflict with the British
Main article: Anglo-Zulu War
On 19th December 1878, agents of the British delivered an ultimatum to
11 chiefs representing Cetshwayo. The terms forced upon Cetshwayo
required him to disband his army and accept British authority.
Cetshwayo refused, and war followed January 12, 1879. During the war,
the Zulus defeated the British at the
Battle of Isandlwana
Battle of Isandlwana on 22
January. The British managed to get the upper hand after the Battle at
Rorke's Drift, and subsequently win the war with the Zulu being
defeated at the
Battle of Ulundi
Battle of Ulundi on 4 July.
Absorption into Natal
Zulu warriors, late nineteenth century
(Europeans in background)
After Cetshwayo's capture a month following his defeat, the British
divided the Zulu Empire into 13 "kinglets". The sub-kingdoms fought
amongst each other until 1883 when
Cetshwayo was reinstated as king
over Zululand. This still did not stop the fighting and the Zulu
monarch was forced to flee his realm by Zibhebhu, one of the 13
kinglets, supported by
Cetshwayo died in February
1884, killed by Zibhebhu's regime, leaving his son, the 15-year-old
Dinuzulu, to inherit the throne. In-fighting between the Zulu
continued for years, until Zululand was absorbed fully into the
British colony of Natal.
Main article: KwaZulu
Zulu man performing traditional warrior dance
Under apartheid, the homeland of
KwaZulu (Kwa meaning place of) was
created for Zulu people. In 1970, the Bantu Homeland Citizenship Act
provided that all Zulus would become citizens of KwaZulu, losing their
South African citizenship.
KwaZulu consisted of a large number of
disconnected pieces of land, in what is now KwaZulu-Natal. Hundreds of
Zulu people living on privately owned "black spots"
KwaZulu were dispossessed and forcibly moved to bantustans
– worse land previously reserved for whites contiguous to existing
areas of KwaZulu. By 1993, approximately 5.2 million
Zulu people lived
in KwaZulu, and approximately 2 million lived in the rest of South
Africa. The Chief Minister of KwaZulu, from its creation in 1970 (as
Zululand) was Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi. In 1994,
KwaZulu was joined
with the province of Natal, to form modern KwaZulu-Natal.
Main article: Inkatha Freedom Party
Inkatha YeSizwe means "the crown of the nation". In 1975, Buthelezi
revived the Inkatha YaKwaZulu, predecessor of the Inkatha Freedom
Party. This organization was nominally a protest movement against
apartheid, but held more conservative views than the ANC. For example,
Inkatha was opposed to the armed struggle, and to sanctions against
South Africa. Inkatha was initially on good terms with the ANC, but
the two organizations came into increasing conflict beginning in 1976
in the aftermath of the Soweto Uprising.
Modern Zulu population
Zulu mother and child
The modern Zulu population is fairly evenly distributed in both urban
and rural areas. Although
KwaZulu-Natal is still their heartland,
large numbers have been attracted to the relative economic prosperity
Gauteng province. Indeed, Zulu is the most widely spoken home
language in the province, followed by Sotho.
South Africa showing the primary
Zulu language speech area in
Main article: Zulu language
The language of the
Zulu people is "isiZulu", a Bantu language; more
specifically, part of the Nguni subgroup. Zulu is the most widely
spoken language in South Africa, where it is an official language.
More than half of the South African population are able to understand
it, with over 9 million first-language and over 15 million
second-language speakers. Many
Zulu people also speak Afrikaans,
English, Portuguese, Xitsonga,
Sesotho and others from among South
Africa's 11 official languages.
See also: Swenkas
Zulu village women in traditional clothing.
Interior space of a traditional beehive hut, or iQhugwane
Zulus wear a variety of attire, both traditional for ceremonial or
culturally celebratory occasions, and modern westernized clothing for
everyday use. The women dress differently depending on whether they
are single, engaged, or married. The men wore a leather belt with two
strips of hide hanging down front and back.
Religion and beliefs
See also: Zulu mythology
Zulu worshippers at a United African Apostolic Church, near Oribi
Zulu people state their beliefs to be Christian. Some of the most
common churches to which they belong are African Initiated Churches,
especially the Zion Christian Church, [Nazareth Baptist Church] and
United African Apostolic Church, although membership of major European
Churches, such as the Dutch Reformed, Anglican and Catholic Churches
are also common. Nevertheless, many lZulus retain their traditional
pre-Christian belief system of ancestor worship in parallel with their
Zulu religion includes belief in a creator God (uNkulunkulu) who is
above interacting in day-to-day human life, although this belief
appears to have originated from efforts by early Christian
missionaries to frame the idea of the Christian God in Zulu terms.
Traditionally, the more strongly held Zulu belief was in ancestor
spirits (amaThongo or amaDlozi), who had the power to intervene in
people's lives, for good or ill. This belief continues to be
widespread among the modern Zulu population.
Traditionally, the Zulu recognize several elements to be present in a
human being: the physical body (inyama yomzimba or umzimba); the
breath or life force (umoya womphefumulo or umoya); and the "shadow,"
prestige, or personality (isithunzi). Once the umoya leaves the body,
the isithunzi may live on as an ancestral spirit (idlozi) only if
certain conditions were met in life. Behaving with ubuntu, or
showing respect and generosity towards others, enhances one's moral
standing or prestige in the community, one's isithunzi. By
contrast, acting in a negative way towards others can reduce the
isithunzi, and it is possible for the isithunzi to fade away
Zulu sangomas (diviners)
In order to appeal to the spirit world, a diviner (sangoma) must
invoke the ancestors through divination processes to determine the
problem. Then, a herbalist (inyanga) prepares a mixture (muthi) to be
consumed in order to influence the ancestors. As such, diviners and
herbalists play an important part in the daily lives of the Zulu
people. However, a distinction is made between white muthi (umuthi
omhlope), which has positive effects, such as healing or the
prevention or reversal of misfortune, and black muthi (umuthi
omnyama), which can bring illness or death to others, or ill-gotten
wealth to the user. Users of black muthi are considered witches,
and shunned by the society.
Christianity had difficulty gaining a foothold among the Zulu people,
and when it did it was in a syncretic fashion. Isaiah Shembe,
considered the Zulu Messiah, presented a form of
Nazareth Baptist Church) which incorporated traditional customs.
Traditional Zulu dance
Main article: List of Zulu people
Inkatha Freedom Party
List of Zulu kings
List of Zulus
^ a b c d e f g h "The
Zulu people group are reported in 7 countries".
Retrieved 29 November 2016.
^ International Marketing Council of
South Africa (9 July 2003).
South Africa grows to 44.8 million". www.southafrica.info. Archived
from the original on 22 May 2005. Retrieved 4 March 2005.
^ "izulu in English isiZulu to English Translation - Oxford
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^ Bulliet (2008). The Earth and Its Peoples. USA: Houghton Mifflin
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^ "Ethnologue report for language code ZUL". www.ethnologue.com.
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traditional religion and belief in the sky god". Studies in Religion.
University of Waterloo. Retrieved 26 October 2008. External link
in journal= (help)
^ Henry Callaway (1870). "Part I:uNkulunkulu". The Religious System of
the Amazulu. Springvale.
^ a b Adam Ashforth (2005). "Muthi, Medicine and Witchcraft:
Regulating 'African Science' in Post-
Apartheid South Africa?".
^ Molefi K. Asante, Ama Mazama (2009). Encyclopedia of African
religion, Volume 1. Sage.
^ Axel-Ivar Berglund (1976). Zulu thought-patterns and symbolism. C.
Hurst & Co. Publishers.
^ Abraham Modisa Mkhondo Mzondi (2009). Two Souls Leadership: Dynamic
Interplay of Ubuntu, Western and New Testament Leadership Values (PDF)
(Thesis). submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree
of Doctorate in Theology, University of Johannesburg.
^ Nwamilorho Joseph Tshawane (2009). The Rainbow Nation: A Critical
Analysis of the Notions of Community in the Thinking of Desmond Tutu
(PDF) (Thesis). submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the
degree of Doctorate in Theology, University of South Africa.
^ "Art & Life in Africa Online - Zulu". University of Iowa.
Retrieved 6 June 2007.
Media related to
Zulu people at Wikimedia Commons
History section of the official page for the Zululand region,
Ethnic groups in South Africa
Khoi and San