четверг, 26 марта 2009 г.

Postcard from South Africa

The Zulu are the largest South African ethnic group of an estimated 10-11 million people who live mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. Their language, isiZulu, is a Bantu language; more specifically, part of the Nguni subgroup. The Zulu Kingdom played a major role in South African History during the 19th and 20th centuries. Under apartheid, Zulu people were classed as third-class citizens and suffered from state sanctioned discrimination. They remain today the most numerous ethnic group in South Africa, and now have equal rights along with all other citizens.

The rural Zulu economy is based on cattle and agriculture. Consequently, the main staple diet consists of cow and agricultural products. This includes barbecued and boiled meat; amasi (curdled milk), mixed with dry, ground corn or dry, cooked mealie-meal (corn flour); amadumbe (yams); vegetables; and fruits. The Zulu traditional beer is not only a staple food but a considerable source of nutrition. It is also socially and ritually important and is drunk on all significant occasions.

Drinking and eating from the same plate was and still is a sign of friendship. It is customary for children to eat from the same dish, usually a big basin. This derives from a "share what you have" belief which is part of ubuntu (humane) philosophy.

Older Zulu women wear clothes that cover their bodies. They wear isicholo( Izzy-chow-low ), a wide hat made of straw and decorated with beads (ubuhlalu). They also wear isidwaba, a pleated skirt made of cowhide and softened by hand. Younger women sometimes decorate their 'isidwaba' with beads, whereas older women wear it plain. Clothing for Zulu girls is mainly made of beadwork and is usually revealing.

Beads are the pride of the Zulu nation. Zulu beadwork encompasses a symbolic language that may include reprimands and warnings, messages of love, and encouragement. Different beads carry symbolic meanings that may be used during courtship. When a young man proposes love from a woman, she gives him a gift of betrothal beads as an indication of her acceptance of him. This acceptance is usually followed by lobolo (bride price) by which the young man pays eleven cows to the woman’s family.


6 комментариев:

  1. Hi from Pakistan! I am interested in a swap and a link exchange for blogs. Visit my blog at http://mycoolcovercollection.blogspot.com/

  2. A lovely card (and stamp). I've never yet had any card from Africa.

  3. I liked the card, but I especially liked the stamp! Very interesting!

  4. Hello Yana,
    Our cards have a similar theme today. I posted one about the Inuit of the Arctic - same theme, but "slightly" different climate!
    Evelyn in Montreal

  5. Beautiful card and wonderful information about the Zulu. Eleven cows is an enormous price - but women are really worth far more than that.

  6. Wonderful post. Wonder what that Zulu beer has in it that is so nutritious! You have a great command of the written word and I am impressed with your long, informative posts about the places in your cards.