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 … Read more

Stages in a Zulu Wedding: Umembeso

While many people conflate lobola and umembeso ceremonies, they are in fact separate concepts, even when they are performed on the same day. While Lobola can most easily be described as a ‘bride price’, something with a specific monetary value attached to it, umembeso or izbizo as it’s also referred to, is the giving of gifts … Read more

Stages in a Zulu Wedding: Umabo

As with most cultures there are different stages in a Zulu wedding. In western society there will traditionally be an engagement, followed by a kitchen tea or hens party, the infamous bulls party, and finally the wedding. A traditional Zulu wedding is quite different, but also has distinctive stages, with the first being the payment of … Read more

A Traditional Zulu Bridal Outfit

Times are changing and many Zulu brides today choose to have what’s deemed to be a western wedding, but just as many opt for the traditional umabo, and when money permits it, a bride will have both ceremonies, with the western ‘white’ wedding normally taking place first. While a European wedding gown is a relatively … Read more

A Bride’s Skirt

Last week we wrote about the ibhayi that a sangoma wears as part of her traditional attire. But amabhayi can also refer to the skirts worn by brides or married women. Like the sangoma’s skirts the amabhayi worn by brides can also double as capes or shawls, but while sangoma’s skirts are normally made from fabric, … Read more

Nqobile’s Stories: November

As usual Nqobile chose some interesting topics to research in the month of November. The first of her stories deals with complexities involved in a polygamous Zulu relationship, in particular how livestock is distributed between children of different wives, and the social rules associated with how to deal with this issue (e.g. the process that’s … Read more