I thought I will due to the fact that I have been accused of spreading only negative propaganda, start this thread which will concentrate on the facts of all the different cultures and lifestyles in South Africa. This way people who are not familiar with the different cultures can get to know them a little bit better.
I will try to post a different culture each and every week, that is if I have the time available.
The first culture I will write about is the Zulu culture. They are wide spread over South Africa, but are more concentrated in the Kwazulu Natal Province. Underneath is a map showing all the provinces of SA.
Above image shows how the Zulus dress. This is their traditional dress and they wear this whenever they have ceremonies.
Women dress more or less the same but wear more beads. They also don't wear anything to cover their breasts and due to the nature of this site I can't post pictures of it here.
LANGUAGE AND DOMOGRAPHICS
LOCATION: KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa
POPULATION: 9.2 million
LANGUAGE: IsiZulu; Zulu; English
RELIGION: Mixture of traditional beliefs and Christianity
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 of Gauteng province. Indeed, Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in the province, followed by Sotho. Zulu is also widely spoken in rural and small-town Mpumalanga province.
Zulus also play an important part in South African politics. Mangosuthu Buthelezi served a term as Minister of Home Affairs in the government of national unity which came into power in 1994, when reduction of civil conflict between ANC and IFP followers was a key national issue. Within the country, South African President Jacob Zuma and former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of the country are Zulu, in part to bolster the ruling ANC's claim to be a pan-ethnic national party and refute IFP claims that it was primarily a Xhosa party.
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, Shangaan, Sesotho and others from among South Africa's 11 official languages.
ZULU CEREMONIES, RELIGION, POLITICS AND FOLKLORE
Birth, puberty, marriage and death are all celebrated. Zulus believe it is a blessing to die. Birth and puberty is also very much celebrated.
Nowadays it is performed only for girls. It involves separation from other people for a period to mark the changing status from youth to adulthood. This is followed by "reincorporation," characterized by ritual killing of animals, dancing, and feasting. After the ceremony, the girl is declared ready for marriage. The courting days then begin. The girl may take the first step by sending a "love letter" to a young man who appeals to her. Zulu love letters are made of beads. Different colors have different meanings, and certain combinations carry particular messages.
Ancestral spirits are important in Zulu religious life. Offerings and sacrifices are made to the ancestors for protection, good health, and happiness. Ancestral spirits come back to the world in the form of dreams, illnesses, and sometimes snakes. The Zulu also believe in the use of magic. Anything beyond their understanding, such as bad luck and illness, is considered to be sent by an angry spirit.
The Zulu recognize the national holidays of the Republic of South Africa. In addition, they celebrate Shaka's Day every year in September. This holiday is marked by celebrations and slaughtering cattle to commemorate the founder of the Zulu Kingdom. On this important day, Zulu people wear their full traditional attire (clothing and weapons) and gather at Shaka's tombstone, kwaDukuza in Stanger.
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 to be consumed (muthi) 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 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 Christianity (the Nazareth Baptist Church) which incorporated traditional customs.
Polygamy is also in Zulu culture as it is in other cultures like N Sotho, Islam and Swazi culture. KwaZulu the king was and is still able to take more than 5 wives to bare him children.
Zulu families use to choose a husband for the women, in most situations the girl is chosen to marry an older guy while she is still young, age16 and 45 and only to find that she is the 5th wife to husband.
The families are the ones who decide on the Lobola and everything, they just tell the girl about the final arrangements of the marriage and the day she will be going to live with the husband.
Other reasons why the Zulu people take more than two wives is because a women without children is looked down and loses her position of being a wife in a clan.
Now the husband forced to marry another wife who will bare him children, and if the wife doesn't bare sons the husband takes another wife to bare sons for him in order to continue the family name.
The Zulu family is patriarchal; a man is both the head of the family and the figure of authority. It is not unusual for young men to have as many girlfriends as they wish. If they can afford it, they can take more than one wife when they decide to get married. Traditionally, women were not supposed to go out and work, since they were a man's responsibility. Nowadays the status of Zulu women is slowly improving with more women receiving an education.
Marriage is exogamous; marriage to any person belonging to one's father's, mother's, father's mother's, and mother's mother's clan is prohibited. If it happens, the ukudabula (literally, "cutting of the blood relationship") ritual is performed.
A more modern version of above house looks like this.
HISTORIC EVENTS OF SIGNIFICANCE
Conflict with the British
Main article: Anglo-Zulu War
On December 11, 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 at the start of 1879. During the war, the Zulus defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana on January 22. The British managed to get the upper hand after the battle at Rorke's Drift, and win the war with the Zulu defeat at the Battle of Ulundi on July 4.
The Zulus also fought with the Boers during the Battle of Blood River:
The Battle of Blood River, so called due to the colour of water in the Ncome River (Blood River) turning red from blood, (Afrikaans: Slag van Bloedrivier; Zulu: iMpi yaseNcome) was fought between 470 Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated 10,000 - 15,000 Zulu attackers on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Casualties amounted to three thousand of king Dingane's soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Trekker commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius himself.
In the sequel to the Battle of Blood River during January 1840, the Mpande-Pretorius alliance finally defeated Dingane in the Battle of Maqongqe. Dingane's commander in both battles, general Ndlela, was strangled to death by Dingane on account of high treason.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH ZULUS
I know a few Zulus on a personal level and I can with confidence say that I consider at least one of them to be a better Christian than many white Christians I know.
Zulus are extremely passionate about their tradition and don't marry easily out of their ethnic group.
Source 1: The Zulu People, Their Culture and History
Source 2: Wiki:Zulu
Source 3: Countries and Their Cultures
Source 4: Battle of Blood River