Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Zulu from Philip's Encyclopedia

Bantu people of South Africa, most of whom live in KwaZulu-Natal. They are closely related to the Swazi and the Xhosa. The Zulus have a patriarchal, polygamous society with a strong militaristic tradition. Traditionally cereal farmers, they possessed large herds of cattle, considered to be status symbols. Under their leader Shaka, they fiercely resisted 19th-century colonialism. The predominant religion is now Christianity, although ethnic religions are still common. They are organized politically into the Inkatha movement under Chief Mangosutho Buthelezi.

Summary Article: Zulu
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Member of a group of southern African peoples mainly from Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa. They are traditionally agriculturalists. The Zulu language, closely related to Xhosa, belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family. Many Zulus are supporters of the political organization Inkatha, founded by Chief Buthelezi in 1975.

History Formed into clans whose chiefs are the genealogically senior members, they divide into age sets which form sections of the army. In the 1820s they were forged into a nation by Shaka, who formed them into fighting regiments, conquering many neighbouring peoples. Shaka was assassinated by his brother Dingaan, who was in turn defeated by the Boers 1838–43. In 1879 the Zulus, under Cetewayo were defeated by the British, and Zululand was annexed by the UK, although sporadic fighting continued until 1907. The South African apartheid government assigned them a ‘homeland’, KwaZulu, with self-governing status from 1971, at the nucleus of the once extensive Zulu kingdom. Many Zulus violently opposed the non-racial constitution adopted in South Africa in 1993. Land erosion and the lack of sufficient remaining land to support the population has meant that many Zulus today work in the industrial centres around Johannesburg and Durban.



Zulu warrior

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Zulu
Encyclopedia of African Religion

The Zulu (amaZulu) are a Nguni people who live mainly in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, with smaller numbers in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and...

Full text Article ZULU
Cassell's Peoples, Nations and Cultures

A Northern NGUNI people who live mainly in northern Natal, where their South African apartheid ‘homeland’ was known as KwaZulu (see SOUTH...

Full text Article Zulus
The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism

ethnic conflict ethnicity nationalism South Africa The Zulu people number about ten million and live almost entirely in the Republic of South Afri

See more from Credo