Different stages of respect in Zulu culture

Ways of showing respect in a Zulu culture differ according to the age and gender of a person.

Contents

1 Child to elders
2 Respect of a young person in general
3 Respect of the bride to the in-laws
4 Homestead respect
5 Respecting the Chief
6 Zulu summary
7 Ukuhlonipha kukamakoti emzini aganele kuwo
8 Inhlonipho yomuzi
9 Inhlonipho yenkosi yesizwe

Child to elders
Greeting is an important part of showing respect to others. According to the Zulu culture, a young person must greet an elder first when they meet. The child must say “Sawubona baba” or “Sawubona mama” (“Hello father” or “Hello mother”), according to the person’s position. The child must bow his/her head down when greeting elders and take off his hat if it’s a boy. Some people use their body gestures when greeting e.g. shaking of hands to show that you appreciate and are happy to see each other.

Respect of a young person in general
A child must not look adults straight into their eyes, not stand when adults are around they need to sit down or kneel down and not speak or comment when adults are having a conversation. A young person when on public transport, bus they are expected to offer an adult a seat in a bus or where there is a gathering and all the seats are taken. And also when an adult is carrying things, a young person must help to carry those things.

Respect of the bride to the in-laws
A bride doesn’t speak to the father-in-law until a certain period. She doesn’t call her in-laws (sisters, brothers etc) by their names, and she must use an alternative name even for her husband – this is easier when they already have children because she can address him by their child’s name (i.e. father of x). She is not allowed to eat in front of the father-in-law.

Homestead respect
A homestead is very respected in a Zulu culture. People are not allowed to enter anywhere but only to use the main gate or entrance. When entering the homestead you have to give praise to the owner or head of the house by using his clan praises. And you need to wait for someone to welcome you and once you enter the house, you must kneel down and then greet.

Respecting the Chief
The chief is not called by his name, and does not talk to anyone except for his helpers. One needs to consult with the chief’s helper in order to communicate with the chief.

Zulu summary

Usikompilo lokuhlonipha lwesintu
Ukuhlonipha kwengane ihlonipha abantu abadalaUmuntu osemncane kulindeleke ukuthi abingelele umuntu omdala uma ehlangana naye endleleni ngokuthi sawubona baba noma mama kuye ngesigaba akuso loyo osuke ebingelelwa. Uma kuwumuntu wesilisa obingelelayo kufanele akhumule isigqoko uma esifakile. Umuntu omdala akabhekwa emehlweni uma ukhuluma naye futhi akufanele umuntu osemncane amele abantu abadala endlini kufanele ahlale phansi noma aguqe. Ingane futhi ayijobeleli noma iphendule inkulumo yabantu abadala uma bexoxa. Kulindeleke ukuthi ingane iphathise umuntu omdala imithwalo uma ihlangana naye esindwa.

Ukuhlonipha kukamakoti emzini aganele kuwo
Umakoti akakhulumi nobabezala kuze kuphele isikhathi esibekiwe. Akababizi abantu basemzini ngamagama abo. Nomyeni wakhe akufanele ambize ngegama, kuye kubengcono uma sebenengane ngoba umbiza ngayo. Futhi umakoti akufanele adle phambi kukababezala wakhe.

Inhlonipho yomuzi
Emzini wendoda umuntu akufanele angene noma yikuphi, kusetshenziswa isango kuphela. Kufanele ume esangweni uthakazele ikhaya, awungeni ungamukeliwe. Uma sewungaphakathi kufanele uhlale phansi bese uyabingelela.

Inhlonipho yenkosi yesizwe
Inkosi ayibizwa ngegama layo. Abantu abakhulumi nenkosi bakhuluma nezinduna noma abasizi benkosi.

By: Bongiwe Ndlovu

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