Ukuzila Ngendlela Yesintu

During the death of a family member firstly within the Zulu culture the family will clean the bedroom of the deceased and light a candle at the head of the room. The wife will be seated next to the candle to mourn the death of her husband. If it was an unmarried man then a mother will have to sit in for the deceased, the same will apply for a child. If it is a married woman than the mother-in-law on sister-in-law will sit at the head of the room.

At all times a woman is the mourner at the head of the room. After the funeral the mourner wears clothes that symbolise that she has lost someone close to her. The act of mourning is not new to Africans, it can be traced to the very early ages of Africa. Historically, before the introduction of clothing, Africans used a certain leaf to symbolise the loss of someone close to them. Currently black attire is mostly used to symbolise the death of someone close to you but because of the ever changing times we also see people wearing other colours to mourn the death of someone.

Within the Zulu culture for a husband a woman will have to wear the clothes that symbolise the death of her for four seasons, and one season for anybody else. Before one gets out of the mourning clothes there is cleansing process that takes place and there is a slaughter of a goat for the cleansing process.

By: Ntokozo Tshapa

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