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It is believed that in the 16th century the Zulu migrated and settled in the south of the African continent. This paper is to examine the practices, customs, belief and views of the Zulu, a tribe found in South Africa regarding death and the afterlife. The Zulu tribe views on death and the afterlife The Zulu belief in gods, for instance, Inkosi Yezulu means ‘Chief of the Sky’. This is a male god of the sky and is considered as the maker of all humans (Magesa, 187). However, despite him being the maker of everything, he is associated with lightening, thunder and rain clouds. This male god has a twin god called mother earth (Krige 46). The Zulu as well believe people who die go to the twin god. The Zulu also identify their ancestral spirits by names like amalozi, amathonga and amakhosi. This ancestral spirits are souls of the recently dead people and are normally considered effective contacts between the Zulu and their gods and therefore responsible for positive, constructive and creative results among the Zulu. At the same time these ancestral spirits can also work for the ill of the tribe (Krige, 47). For this reason the Zulu hold these ancestors in high esteem so as to bring good will to the region. Umsamo is a particular place identified in the Zulu hut of Zulu chiefs’ jurisdiction where religious action is done....
Besides, their bodies are quietly unceremoniously buried. Ceremonies and rituals associated with death and the afterlife Immediately after death, one is considered to be in an "in-between" region which is some kind of limbo. The Zulu believe that the dead person stays in this ‘in-between’ situation for a period that could be between one month and a year. However, being in this limbo position is necessitated by three things. One of the reasons for this is that after a person’s death, the village’s chief herbalist will be devoted with finding out the cause of the departed’s death. These search periods will last for about one month, besides; if the person was not married he would be in limbo for that period of time until the cause of his demise is traced. In the event that he was married, the widow would mourn for a period of twelve months since the death occurred. A ritual is carried out which involves taking of medicine and praying to prior to beseeching the current Chief to perform what is known as Ukubuyisa Idlozi. This is normally done as an initiation to "bring home the ancestor"(Lawson 32). They believe that this act makes it possible for the recently deceased person to join his ancestors in the Umsamo. Once the deceased person has been brought to the Umsamo, his position in this place will determine where he goes after here. In the event that a chief dies, the Zulu believe that his spirit will remain within the living world so as to oversee the happenings his homestead even in death. Except for Chiefs, it is believed that all those who die go to the underworld, which is located deep inside mother earth (Tempels 38). Ethical responsibilities and obligations to achieve the afterlife When a family member dies, the remaining family
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