It’s the start of a new year, and for some new and exciting beginnings. Every year radio and television stations across the world report on all the babies born at the stroke of midnight. In most cultures the birth of a child is celebrated, although some societies place particular importance on the sex of the baby. Although considered far less important than in years gone by, Zulu culture still dictates that a boy is preferable to a baby girl. Surprisingly though, beyond this simple preference and the ceremony of imbeleko to introduce the baby to the ancestors, there seems to be very little tradition surrounding the birth of a Zulu baby. That being said a Zulu baby’s name is particularly important as it‘s believed that the choice of name can influence the life of both the child and the family. An overly ambitious name, for example, could have significant repercussions. Names reflect the parent and extended family’s hopes, dreams and aspirations; they may also reflect the fears and religious beliefs of the parents, or provide insights into important cultural or socio-political events at the time of the child’s birth.
We hope that all the babies born in eThekwini on the 1st January this year were given names reflecting happiness, hope and prosperity – that’s what we wish for our great city this year. Happy 2014 everyone!
Click here for a list of common Zulu names and their meanings.