What’s in a Name?

As is the case with many cultures, Zulu names have meanings attached to them that reflect how the parents feel about their new-born child (e.g. Thandiwe, ‘Beloved’). Names can also relate to what the weather was like when the baby was born (e.g. Nomvula, ‘Mother of rain’), or reflect the religious beliefs of the parents (e.g. BongiNkosi, ‘Be grateful to God’). Their … Read more

AmaZizi: the Dlamini of Southern Africa

In much of Western society, surnames are simply ways of identifying people, a way of differentiating one person from another, but in Zulu culture a name means so much more – a surname might have a different praise name used to show respect, that tells the story of a person’s lineage, and the importance of their family members. So … Read more

International Conference on IKS and Environmental Ethics

Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) as an area of study has gained serious momentum over the past few years, with more and more learning institutions focusing on IKS based research and innovation. The universities of North-West, Limpopo and Venda are three institutions with an impressive IKS track record, and so it made sense for the University of KwaZulu-Natal to … Read more

Neli’s Stories: January

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 … Read more