Zulu | African Culture
The largest rural concentration of Zulu people is in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The clear- cut distinction made today between the Xhosa and the Zulu has no basis in culture or history, social, and economic links between chiefs of these emerging power In the s the Government's objective was to form a "tribal. Among the most successful of the Xhosa hymns is the South African The majority of central northern Nguni people became part of the Zulu kingdom, to the Xhosa nations - the main difference is that the latter abolished. The Xhosa people are an ethnic group of people of Southern Africa mainly found in the Eastern The Xhosa people are divided into several tribes with related yet distinct heritages. home language, after the Zulu language, to which Xhosa is closely related. . She would have to abide to the marriage as per tradition.
At the Cape they made tangible contact with Muslims from other parts of the African continent. In the British colonialists brought another batch of Muslims from India to Kwa-Zulu Natal province; some of them were indentured labourers whilst others were free passengers. Their arrival also coincided with the coming in of the Swahili and Arabic -speaking Zanzibaris; and they were later joined by a fair number of Malawians who came to work on the Gauteng mines.
Despite their presence in South Africa for such a long period, there is little oral and written evidence to suggest that Islamic culture directly or indirectly impacted upon Nguni culture over these centuries.
There is however a view which opines that when the Muslims set-up home-based schools to disseminate their religious thoughts, they warmly accomodated the slave children as well as the Nguni children. Tangible contact between Muslims and Africans only appeared to have taken place from the beginning of the 20th century, and this has developed into the creation of strong bonds.
Moreover, due to the rapid socio-political transformation during the last four decades of the 20th century and because of the Christian missionary activities in the s and s amongst Muslims, Muslim missionaries came to the defence of Islam and made a concerted effort to carry the message of Islam to the Africans. And by then, it undertook missionary activities in more than thirty townships across South Africa.
These institutions have played important roles in disseminating Islamic culture in the various densely populated African regions. It is in these circumstances that the urban African came to meet and know Mslams i. Muslims and their Islamic culture. In many cases, the relationship between the Muslim artisans and the Nguni-Xhosa-speaking labourers was not very cordial. Although apartheid was a major factor which contributed towards this disharmony between the various ethnic groups, the Muslims themselves acted discrimately towards the Africans.
Even though the conditions were not the same in Natal, the relationship between the Indian Muslims and the Nguni-Zulu-speakers was somewhat worse. Many Indian Muslims employed them but did not pay them a livable wage nor did they treat them humanely.
Consequently, the relationship led to certain prejudices which ultimately snowballed into continuous racial conflict and misunderstandings in both groups. However, due to the infiltration of the Zanzibaris and Malawians into the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng respectively, a clearer understanding of Islam was provided; this has mainly been because of their interaction and intermarriage with members of the Nguni peoples.
According to the statistics African Muslims numbered about 1, out of an African population of approximately 4 m. In their numbers decreased to 1, out of 6.
By and they were 8, out of The estimate stands at 18, out of 25 million. This indicates that the growth of Islam within the African population, on the whole, has been very slow. Two reasons may be forwarded for this. The one is the widespread racial prejudice which exists between the Muslims and Nguni and other African communities; and the other is that the Muslims do not mix freely with them nor do they speak any of the indigenous African languages.
Despite their small numbers and slow growth, the Muslims were nevertheless able to make inroads into the very social structure of the Nguni people.
Before commenting upon these, the two distinct cultures will be briefly compared.
Comparing the two cultures: Since the Islamic concept of Tawhid i. The Nguni belief system is intertwined with their rich culture and it is quite common to witness how their culture pervades the religious rituals for all institutions such as birth, marriage and death. There are remarkable similarities between certain Nguni marriage customs and Muslim marriages. In contemporary South African Muslim society it is normally paid in cash and kind.
However, the couples' families, in both traditions, have to agree to the marriage before matters can proceed. The impact of western culture has caused the adherents of both traditions to abandon practices such as these.
Also, polygamy, which is an accepted Islamic practice on condition that the man is able to be just towards his wiveswas widely practiced in almost all the African tribes in South Africa. The urbanized African, however due to his circumstances, has largely maintained a monogamous status form of marriage.
The urbanized African has, because of his social conditions, probably induldged in premarital sex; an act which has been reprehensible by both the African and Islamic traditions. Thus the birth of a child out of wedlock meant that - in both traditions - the child did not adopt the father's family name but that of the mother. And according to Islamic law, the child was also not allowed to inherit from the father. When it comes to the birth of an Nguni child certain rituals are performed and animals are slaughtered as a sign of sacrifice to please the ancestral spirits.
Something similar happens in the Islamic tradition. After child birth the Nguni woman normally experiences the continuous flow of blood isikhundla [Xhosa] and her monthly menstrual cycle also restarts. During these periods the woman is considered impure and thus no sexual relations is expected to occur. The same view is prevalent amongst the Muslims.
However, Muslims do allow for daily interaction between husband and wife and free movement within the family. Among some of the Nguni tribes any form of contact between spouses during this period is forbidden. However, the Nguni tradition expects the widow or widower to mourn for approximately six months during which no free mixing may occur. In Islam the period for the widow is much shorter four months and ten days with the specific objective of ascertaining whether the widow is pregnant or not.
Islam's impact amongst the Nguni: Now that a brief comparative perspective has been provided of both traditions focus will be upon the impact of Islamic culture upon some aspects of the Nguni tradition.
The most important area in which the impact is most visible is in the belief system. It should, however, also be remembered that in the process of undertaking Islamic missions the Muslims met many Nguni-speakers who were Christians; this therefore meant that their emphasis and focus had to be upon both the Christian and African traditional religion belief systems.
This forms the roots of ubuntu human kindness — a behaviour synonymous to this tribe as extending a helping hand to a complete stranger when in need. Ubuntu goes further than just helping one another — it is so deep that it even extends to looking after and reprimanding your neighbour's child when in the wrong.
Hence the saying "it takes a village to raise a child". One traditional ritual that is still regularly practiced is the manhood ritual, a secret rite that marks the transition from boyhood to manhood, ulwaluko. After ritual circumcisionthe initiates abakwetha live in isolation for up to several weeks, often in the mountains.
During the process of healing they smear white clay on their bodies and observe numerous taboos. In modern times the practice has caused controversy, with over circumcision- and initiation-related deaths sinceand the spread of sexually transmitted infectionsincluding HIVvia the practice of circumcising initiates with the same blade.
Titled Umthunzi Wentaba, the series was taken off the air after complaints by traditional leaders that the rites are secret and not to be revealed to non-initiates and women. It features a gallery of photographs of injured penises, which sparked outrage amongst traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape. They too are secluded, though for a shorter period.
Female initiates are not circumcised. This is reflected in the traditional greeting Inkaba yakho iphi? Most importantly, it determines where you belong".
These rituals have been practiced for decades by the Xhosa people and have been incorporated into modern day Xhosa marriages as well.
The purpose of the practices is to bring together two different families and to give guidance to the newly wed couple throughout. Decades before Ukuthwalwa would entail legal bridal abduction, where the man could choose a woman of his liking to be his bride and go into negotiations with the family of the bride without her knowledge or consent.
She would have to abide to the marriage as per tradition. During this discussion the clan name, isiduko, of the woman would be revealed and researched.
ISLAMIC CULTURE AMONGST THE NGUNI (XHOSA & ZULU) PEOPLES
It is these very negotiators that will travel to the family of the woman to make known the man and his intentions. Once the negotiators reach the family of the woman they will be kept in the kraal, inkundla, of the woman's family.
If the family do not possess a kraal they will simply be kept outside the household as they will not be allowed to enter the household without the acknowledgement and acceptance of the woman's family. It is here where the lobola dowry negotiations will begin. The family of the woman will give them a bride-price and a date for which they must return to pay that price. The bride-price is dependent on numerous things such as her level of education, the wealth status of her family in comparison to that of the man's family, what the man stands to gain in the marriage and the overall desirability of the woman.
The payment of the bride-price could be in either cattle or money depending on the family of the woman. The modern Xhosa families would rather prefer money as most are situated in the urban cities where there would be no space nor permits for livestock. Once the lobola from the man's negotiators is accepted then they will be considered married by the Xhosa tradition and the celebrations would commence. These include slaughtering of the livestock as a grateful gesture to their ancestors as well as pouring a considerable amount of the alcoholic beverages on the ground of the bride's household to give thanks to their ancestors.
The groom's family is then welcomed into the family and traditional beer, Umqombothiwill be prepared for the groom's family as a token of appreciation from the bride's family. Ukuyalwa[ edit ] To solidify their unity the family of the bride will head to the groom's household where the elders will address her with regards to how to carry herself and dress appropriately at her newly found household, this is called Ukuyalwa.
Xhosa burial practices[ edit ] Burial practices and customs include a specific sequence of events and rituals which need to be performed in order to regard a funeral as dignified. Once the family has been notified that a member has died, the extended family comes together in preparation for the burial of the deceased.
The local male clan leader or his proxy is the one who facilitates the process. The purpose of umkhapho is to keep the bonds between the deceased person and the bereaved alive so that the deceased may be able to return later and communicate as an ancestor.
During this ritual, an animal such as a goat is slaughtered. A larger animal like a cow may also be slaughtered for an important person like a head of the family whilst a goat without a blemish may be slaughtered for others. This room is where most of the last respects will be paid by family and friends. The emptying of the room is done in order to create space for extended family members to be able to mourn in the main room.
Mourners do not require an invitation to attend a funeral and everyone who can and would like to attend is welcome. This means that the bereaved family has to cater for an unknown number of mourners.
Xhosa woman preparing food for large groups of people On the day of burial, before extended family members disperse to their homes, the ukuxukuxa cleansing ritual occurs and a goat or sheep or even a fowl is slaughtered. Furthermore, the clothes of the deceased are removed from the house and the family members shave their hair. The shaving of hair is an indication that life continues to spring up even after death.
Many streams drain into great rivers of this Xhosa territory, including the Kei and Fish Rivers. Rich soils and plentiful rainfall make the river basins good for farming and grazing making cattle important and the basis of wealth.