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Zulu warriors

The Mfecane Wars

In Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, the former South African president talks about the AmaMfengu, people that was formed from groupings that were broken up and dispersed by King Shaka and his armies during the Mfecane wars. The name ‘Mfengu‘ translates to ‘wanderers’ and is a reference to how the AmaMfengu came to be; although today the group have largely […]

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Nelson & Winnie Mandela, after Mandela's release from prison, 11th February 1990

Amasi, Nelson Mandela’s Favourite Drink

Last Saturday marked the 27th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, after he had spent 27 years incarcerated. In honour of Madiba we thought that we would talk about one of his favourite drinks, amasi. Amasi, or maas, is a drink made from fermented milk. Some people believe that this traditional Zulu drink came about […]

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Zulu ibheqe, sometimes confused with ucu

A Zulu Engagement ‘Ring’

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the different stages involved in a Zulu wedding, and with today being Valentines Day it seemed only appropriate that we should continue our theme of love, and look at something that happens right at the beginning of a relationship between a Zulu boy and girl – the exchange […]

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Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds, 1941

Isicathamiya: A Brief History

There’s some debate about the origins of isicathamiya, although the general consensus seems to be that this Zulu style of performance was heavily influenced by the American ragtime troupes that toured South Africa in the mid-to-late 1800s. However isicathamiya, characterised by a cappella singing and tightly-choreographed dance moves, only really gained momentum in South Africa in the […]

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Ndebele dolls at the Africa Craft Trust exhibition, June 2010

The Africa Craft Trust

With life moving faster and faster, and the majority of the items we buy today being mass produced, machine-made products, there’s a growing movement that’s pushing in the other direction – for handmade, artisanal items that reflect the care and skills used to make them – skills possessed by men and women used to making […]

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King Goodwill Zwelithini

Celebrating 200 Years of the Zulu Nation

While the rest of the country celebrated Heritage Day on Saturday, those who consider themselves part of the Zulu nation commemorated their second centenary on the day that was previously referred to as Umkhosi WeLembe, or King Shaka Day. With huge numbers of Shembe followers dressed in all white, and others wearing traditional attire and wielding shields made from […]

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