Nelisiwe is the oldest of our fieldworkers, and has a wealth of knowledge about Zulu customs, many of which her family still practice today. Some of the traditions that Neli talks about are are not known to the rest of the team, and often incite excited exchanges while the younger members argue their points with Neli, but other customs seem to have transferred to the younger, more ‘western’ generation, even though they might seem quite peculiar to outsiders! Like the practice of putting breast milk on the genitals of a baby! For baby girls it is thought that the breast milk will delay sexual maturation, and make the girl, when she grows up, more attractive to men. It is also thought that the breast milk will help to keep the baby’s genitals clean. It may sound strange, but it would seem that this practice is still alive and well today within the Zulu community!
Click on the links below to read some of the other customs that Neli wrote about during the month of January:
- Izinkolelo Noma Izindlela Zokuphila Ezilindelekile Emphakathini (Customs associated with a way of life in a community)
- Izinkolelo Ezihlanganiswa Nokufuywa Kwenja Ekhaya (Beliefs associated with keeping dogs at home)
- Izinkolelo Nemikhuba Eyenziwa Uma Kuduma Izulu (Beliefs and customs that are done when there is thunderstorm)
Photograph courtesy of Parent24.com.