The Zulu Tribe.

Essay by meatizmurderUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2005

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The Zulu culture is one of the largest tourist attractions of South Africa. About seven million Zulu live in the Republic of South Africa, mostly in the province of Natal. They make up the largest language group in that country, very often punctuated with distinctive click sounds. The Zulu, which literally translates into "the people of heaven", are a very friendly and sociable tribe, displaying obstinate devotion to their leader, the Inkosi (Potgieter). They have been featured in numerous books, and also have countless musical contributions, outselling The Beatles and Michael Jackson in South Africa (Potgieter).

Before being conquered by the British in 1879, the Zulu were an independent tribe of farmers and cattle herders. They live in cone-shaped houses made of finely matted reeds and straw, arranged in circles to form villages (Sosibo and Harvey). Because they possess no written language, much of their communication takes the visual form of impressive beadwork.

The colors and patterning of the beadwork are symbolic, and include beaded belts, chokers, beaded core style necklaces, bands, bracelets and rings. Zulu tradition also heavily celebrates marriage, and married people have advantages over those who were not. This creates a major incentive for young men to gather enough wealth to purchase what is required to purchase a bride. Traditional wealth is measured in cattle, and only a man with enough cattle can afford to marry. The Zulu are also a very superstitious tribe, and put a high value on their cultural traditions (Potgieter).

As with many people in South Africa, the Zulu's way of life is very deficient in comparison to the rest of the world. In Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines, he describes the Zulu's existence by stating, "It was like coming face to face with great primeval Nature, not Nature as we civilized...