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Zulu Culture and living - Research Paper Example

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The Zulu people are the largest group of people in South Africa. They make up to 24% of the total country’s population. They are believed to have migrated from Congo area in the 16th century and picked up most of their cultural practices from the san of South Africa…
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Zulu Culture and living
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Download file to see previous pages The Zulu people are full of character and celebrate their cultural distinctiveness through cultural festivals. Currently the Zulu tribe is divided; some people have moved into urban centers while others are still in their native habitat (Kwazulu-Natal province). Zulu community has a little population in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. The Zulu people have exciting traditions and their daily lives incorporate both the traditional and modern practices in beliefs, music, rituals, arts and rites of passage. The Zulu tradition is rooted in the Nkulunkulu the creator. The Zulu people are agriculturalists practicing both farming and keeping of domesticated animals. The Zulu mode of subsistence played a critical role in shaping their economic organization. Division of labor was along gender lines and there was clear-cut distinction between male and female roles in the society. Men performed chores that were considered more cumbersome and required a lot of time out of the homestead. They include land cultivation with oxen-driven sledges, carrying logs, constructing food storage barns and tending the cattle. On the other hand, women performed household chores like child rearing, cooking, fetching water, collecting firewood, spreading seeds in the farms and hoeing. Their religious beliefs and values were influenced by their mode of subsistence (Gatsha, 1992). This is because they represent the peoples needs incase of crop failure, infestation of the firms by crops destroying insects and crop harvest. Religion was also used to deal with uncertainties and explain things that could not be explained by culture. The Zulu people had a centralized form of government. The king was the central ruler and was accorded maximum respect. The king delegated power to chiefs who were in charge of the districts. The family heads were obligated to maintain law and order in their homesteads. Mode of Subsistence Traditionally, the Zulu people were agriculturalists; they practiced mixed farming. A lot of significance was attached to cattle, goats and poultry. A man’s wealth was measured by the size of his cattle herd. Cattle were a source of meat and milk and hides. They were also used in paying bride price (lobola) and cattle sacrifice was the main way of appeasing the ancestors. Women took care of the agricultural activities and they grew crops like maize, pumpkins, sugar reeds and tubers. Economic organization In the 19th century, the Zulu people practiced mixed farming. They grew crops and raised livestock. Women collected grass that was used in thatching new and renewing thatches, making baskets, sitting mats, straws (beer sieves) and pot lids among other products. Women plastered and re-plastered houses belonging to their brothers, aunts, husbands and parents. Ploughing fields was a collective chore to both men and women. Men span the oxen and control the ploughs that were drawn by the oxen. Women and boys spread the seeds and finally, women did hoeing and harvesting. Men collected the harvest on sledges that were drawn by the oxen. Women were obligated to clean and polish the living huts. Men on the other hand carved wood utensils, walking sticks and milkpails. Men collected logs that were used in fencing, constructing and repairing kraals. They also built bans that were used for food storage and dug pits used for food storage in the kraals. Young men looked after cattle and slaughtered the animals for ceremonial festivals. Men also tanned the animal skin that was later used in making leather products (Zibani, 2002, p.138). The waves of change brought about by modernization have not spared the Zulu community. Division of labor is still gender based. Men are regarded as the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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