There are currently 0 users and 60 guests online.
Zulu culture, language & traditions
This SIG looks at the Zulu language and its ancient roots as a key to opening its deeper meanings about African cosmology. We look at words, concepts and stories, their derivation as well as concepts which also exist in other Afican languages.
categories [ ]
By : Ralf Sibande with Steve & Eugenie Banhegyi
Note: this article is written using the perspective of Zulu leadership and knowledge systems.
The western business leadership education model provides comprehensive and detailed information in myriad specialist fields but fails to emphasise a holistic and integrative approach to human development in the context of working life. This lack of a holistic approach causes a problematic discontinuity between the experience of home/community life and the world of work where the all-important ‘soft skills’ of interpersonal behaviour are rarely reflected upon.
Submitted by storytelling on 10 December 2009 - 11:55am. categories [ ]
Unyawu aluna mpumulo - Literally: The foot does not have a nose.
This is said of a smart-aleck type of a guy, who eventually walks into a trap as a well deserved “serve him right” situation.
… because had he known, where his feet were taking him, they would have smelled the trouble and gave him due warning to keep off; as it were feet do not have olfactory faculties and through his own advice he walked into a sticky situation.
So it sometimes reads: The wise guy eventually walks into trouble of his own making.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 30 September 2009 - 1:40pm. categories [ ]
Ukufihla induku emcubeni - Literally: To hide a staff in the cow dung
In Zulu culture the cattle kraal is the main meeting place where ordinary, ceremonial and spiritual matters are discussed and enacted . It’s smells of urine, and cow dung are reassuring to the men folk because they mean life, wealth and continuity of the bloodline. It is alleged the first creatures to emerge with man from the primordial bed of reeds were cattle. Without cattle there can be no African. All important rituals involve the lowly cow.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 30 September 2009 - 1:37pm. categories [ ]
Ukhamba lufuze imbiza - Literally: The calabash resembles the fire pot.
This is said of a child or offspring who takes after the parent. The obvious logic being that the same clay mined at the same mud hole, was used by the potter in making both the fire pot and the calabash. Therefore the contents may differ but the substantial matter of constitution is the same for both the fire pot and the calabash.
So this proverb actually says: Don’t you see, he actually takes after his father anyway!
There is agreement here with other ancient cultures in the Middle East and Egypt who actually saw the Creator as the Great Potter who fashioned men and women with his hands and in a way He sees fit. This metaphor was not lost to Zulus as well.
This proverb is not used for physical resemblance but for conduct, temperament and other behavioural attributes in a negative sense.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 30 September 2009 - 1:33pm. categories [ ]
Umendo awuthunyelwa gundane - Literally: You can’t send a mouse to spy out your intended marriage.
This proverb is directed at a young maiden. The Zulu culture being patriarchal, the young maiden literally married into her husband’s family. There are many distinct cultural events associated with marriage in the Zulu culture.
E.g. Ijadu – is some kind of debut ball in which marriageable maidens were literally paraded and the prospective suitors had a field day preening themselves and trying to make a good impression of themselves.
Ukugcagca – the actual ceremony of marriage accompanied by all kinds of rituals.
Ukwenda – the actual journey and state of having joined a husband in matrimony.
Submitted by storytelling on 30 September 2009 - 1:29pm. categories [ ]
If you are new to social media and are still exploring the area, here are 4 steps to help you get the best out of it:
Submitted by KMAadmin on 13 June 2009 - 8:09am. categories [ ]
The word ukhamba is a Zulu word for a huge clay pot. It is commonly used by all African cultures. In Zulu ukhamba consists of two words: ukukhama (which means to squeeze out or compress out as in milking a cow) + bamba (to hold in place so as to receive that which is squeezed out). This meaning clearly explains the metaphor of thinking hard (ukukhama) and receiving the treasures of thinking into human memory (ukubamba). Therefore ukhamba is a container, a reservoir, and a protector of that which is valuable and good for physical and spiritual nourishment. It is a central piece in the rite of social fellowship. The rite itself is treated with respect and studied deference.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 24 May 2009 - 5:07pm. categories [ ]
When the Teachings were lost or forgotten, Zulus and many other Africans believe that recourse could be obtained by appealing directly to those who are on the other side of the Great Unknown particularly those with a stake in the continued well being of their descendants. This is a communication of last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted. The spirit of a goat is sent over to convey the S.O.S. message.
Why a goat? In every language in Africa a goat is called imbuzi. It is in Zulu, perhaps because of its ancient roots, that the meaning of this word has been preserved. Imbuzi means in Zulu “the one who goes to the spiritual realm to enquire on your behalf.”
Submitted by Qhakijane on 21 May 2009 - 2:32pm. categories [ ]
The Teachings of Unkulunkulu became the oral wisdom of amaZulu and their system of elders were equipped with judgement in order to interpret this wisdom.
Unkulunkulu is not God. Missionaries in their zeal to plant a Christian cosmology into the African natives, took the word UNkulunkulu, and translated it into God. In Zulu cosmology nothing is as far from the truth. In modern South Africa, millions of black people regard UNkulunkulu as God. From a true and etymological point of view, Unkulunkulu is the Being who is created like ourselves who came out first. Another rendering of the name of this Being is umvelingqangi.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 21 May 2009 - 2:21pm. categories [ ]
From a philosophical point of view, Zulus see human beings as coming from another dimension of existence. Hence they suddenly appeared on earth.
The earth is also seen as a created domain but the world used for creation is dala. Therefore God created (wadala) heaven (izulu) and earth (nomhlaba). This is how Genesis 1:1 is translated into Zulu.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 21 May 2009 - 2:12pm. categories [ ]
We are told that the word umuntu (plural abantu) spiritually means those who emerged from the reed in an ancient marsh.
The process of emerging is described as ukudabuka i.e. to forcefully tear a covering and emerge. From this we learn that from a Zulu point of view the process of human creation of first human existence entailed a period of gestation in the pre-world because it was when the first humans were sufficiently well developed that their physical womb was torn down and their emerged into the world. As in human birth, the umbilical detaches and the amniotic sac bursts open and the child emerges into the world.
It is important to realize that the reed should not be literally seen as the substance that encased the first humans. The reed should be understood in terms of its biological qualities as a hollow plant shoot, and the combination of water and earth for its existence, which three are necessary for life to thrive.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 21 May 2009 - 2:03pm. categories [ ]
Western knowledge paradigms have a pyramid shape: at the bottom is real experience but moving up are layers of surrogates that stand for original ideas. At the apex are ideals, or highly refined knowledge. E.g. at the top is an idea called constitutional democracy but later by layer going down we can unravel this idea in terms of judicial institutions, legislative institutions, executive institutions, under which are communities and constituencies right until we come to the level of individuals serving in the various organs of state.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 10 March 2009 - 11:53am. categories [ ]
Submitted by KMAadmin on 7 July 2009 - 2:31pm. categories [ ]