The Zulu Clan

3274 Words14 Pages
The Zulu Clan In the 1820's, during a period of social unrest and warfare, the Zulu clan, a Bantu people, rose to political prominence under the great King Shaka in present-day South Africa. This period is called mfecane, or "crushing" because it was characterized by Shaka's tyrannous reign during which he conquered neighboring peoples and established a kingdom for the Zulu people on South Africa's eastern coast. The word "zulu" was used in 1824 to refer to " a war-like race of South African Blacks". (Ngubane, 1977) The British characterization of Shaka as a monster, however, is now seen as a propagandist attempt to disguise their own interests in procuring land and labor in the region. In fact, much of the violent disruption and displacement of people was probably due to European intervention with the slave trade and their demands for land, cattle. Nonetheless, Shaka is called by many the "Black Napoleon" because of his short-lived, but impressive, period of glory. This period of greatness came to an end with the eventual defeat of King Shaka and the annexation of the Zulu kingdom to Natal, the British state on the eastern coast. (Ngubane, 1977) The Zulu people are now enmeshed in South Africa's modern, industrial economy and society, with the largest population of them still in the region of KwaZulu Natal on the eastern coast. There has been an adaptation of traditional beliefs to allow for Christian, medical, agricultural, mechanical and other rational, scientific approaches of the Europeans. However, despite the cultural diffusion of Western thought and religion among the Zulu people, traditional thinking, according to Berglund (1976), is not only still very much present in Zulu society, but is receiving mor... ... middle of paper ... ...ad heads with unequal fortunes, are all typical situations resulting from this social structure. The belief in ever-present ancestral spirits who watch over the activities of the homestead creates a sense of accountability among its members. The requirement that all members of the homestead to be at peace with one another before social events or medicinal treatment can take place provides a significant incentive for lineage members to resolve their differences expediently. This does not allow anger to build up or misunderstandings to go on and on between members. Bibliography: References Berglund, Axel-Ivar. 1976 Zulu Thought Patterns and Symbolism.London: C.Hurst. Ngubane, Harriet. 1977 Body and Mind in Zulu Traditional Medicine London: Academic Press. Vilakazi, Absalom. 1965 Zulu Transformations. Pietermaritberg: University of Natal Press.
Open Document