Ihlambo lenzelwa umuntu obethanda ukuzingela ongasekho emhlabeni. Uma kunomcimbi wehlambo kuhlatshwa imbuzi yokubika kuqala kwabaphansi ukuthi kuzoba nehlambo likabani, kushiwo igama lakhe uma kushiswa impepho emsamo. Emva kwalokho kuhlatshwa inkomo yalo ihlambo esuke izodliwa.
Uma kuzoba nehlambo kutshelwa amaphisi azozingela ngakusasa ngelanga okuhlatshwa ngalo inkomo ukuthi azozingela ngelanga elilandelayo ekuseni. Ngakusasa ekuseni lawomaphisi adlula kulowomuzi, kodwa engangeni ngaphakathi ame ngaphandle komuzi. Kulowo muzi bakhipha ukhamba lotshwala besiZulu luze kula maphisi angaphandle. Lolukhamba lulethwa kanye nehlamvu lesihlahla umganu elifakwa phakathi kutshwala besiZulu mase amaphisi aphuzwa lobutshwala liphakathi lelihlamvu.
Lotshwala besiZulu obusuke buphuzwa okhambeni abuqedwa, kuchelwa ngabo izincanga ezizongela enqineni, izinja zichelwa ngehlamvu lomganu. Emva kokuba izinsizwa sezihabulile kwachelwa nezincanga, kuphuma inqina kuyozingelwa. Okusuke kubanjiwe enqineni kuyiswa kulomuzi wehlambo.
Uma sekubuywa enqineni, kuqalwa emfuleni kuphethwe izinswazi kuhanjwe nezinyamazane ezibanjiwe. Lezinswazi zitshingwa emfuleni kukhishwa umshophi, emva kwalokho kuhanjiswa izinyamazane ezibanjiwe kuloyomkhaya.
Emva kokubuya kwamaphisi emfuleni, ama ngaphandle komuzi njengoba benze ekuqaleni besaya enqineni. Amaphisi ayabe eseqala ihubo ecule, nabakuloyomuzi baqala ihubo behlangane nenqina bahube kanye-kanye. Emva kwalokho kuyiwa esibayeni sezinkomo.
Esibayeni kukhishwa umkhono wenkomo osuke uzokosiwa. Emva komkhono kuza inhloko esuke iphekiwe ezodliwa lapho esibayeni. Emva kwalenhloko, kungena ibhakede likatshwala, elithi lingakaphuzwa kungene ilungu lomndeni esibayeni lizochaza ukuthi kwenziwa ihlambo lephisi elingasekho. Izinsizwa ziyaye ziphume ngehubo esibayeni ziyongena endlini yaleli phisi elingasekho, bafike baqhabule umqombothi osuke ubekwe lapho endlini. Azingabe zisahuba uma sezingene endlini zahabula. Uma sekuqedwe lokho, ziphumela emnyango noma ziyohlala ngaphansi kwesihlahla zizibusise ngotshwala.
Ihlambo is conducted before the cleansing of the deceased commences and should be done in winter as there is an assumption that if ihlambo is conducted in summer, it results in heavy rains and storms that cause flooding. During the ihlambo ceremony, a cow is slaughtered and all male adults are gathered from that community, to go hunting. They go to hunting while singing traditional songs, armoured with spears and assegais to kill the wild animals they will be hunting.
These hunters kill everything they meet while hunting, even a cow if they didn’t catch anything during their hunt. Afterwards they take their hunt to the deceased person’s family. The hunters have to sing hymns again as they return with their catch. When they enter at the entrance or gate they are met with earthenware pot that has clean unused water inside for the hunters to wash their hands and also dip in their spears in that clay pot, then the rest will shower with the same water used by the hunters for their weapons.
Afterwards the slaughtered cow’s meat is then fed to those who are present, as they also drink traditional brewed beer – umqombothi. Then an elderly family member addresses the present crowd on the person ihlambo was for, a procedure that has to be followed for most Zulu celebration ceremonies.