Discover Zulu

Zulu, also known as isiZulu, is a Bantu language of the Nguni subgroup within the larger Niger-Congo language family. It is spoken by roughly 27 million people in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages.

Main Communities

KwaZulu-Natal, including Durban and Pietermaritzburg

Zulu Names and their Meanings

Amahle -Beautiful
Jabulani - Rejoice
Sibongile - Thankful
Thulani - Peaceful
Bongani - Grateful

Staple Food

Umqombothi: Umqombothi is a traditional Zulu beer made from maize, sorghum, yeast, and water. It is brewed in large clay pots or metal drums. Umqombothi was traditionally used to celebrate the homecoming of young men after their initiation ceremony. The beeris very rich in vitamin B, is rather low in alcohol content (usually less than 3%), and known for its unique taste.  Umqombothi is opaque and light tan. It has a thick, creamy, and gritty consistency which comes from the maize.

Culture and Traditions

Shaka Day, also referred to as Heritage Day, is observed all over South Africa on September 24th. The celebration honours the legacy of the influential Zulu king Shaka Zulu. Shaka Day is believed to be the birthday of King Shaka Zulu. The public holiday serves as a platform for celebrating national pride and acknowledging Shaka Zulu's historical contributions.

Ubuhlalu - also known as zulu beads, they are used to make traditional jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and belts. These beads are traditionally made out of animal bones and are always designed in the shape of a triangle. Zulu beads serve as a form of communication. The colors and directions of each triangle have specific meanings.

Notable figures:

Shaka Zulu - Ruler. He was a famous Zulu king and a great warrior. Shaka Zulu was so creative and intelligent that he was able to make the Zulu tribe a powerful force in southern Africa. Shaka Zulu was also a global trader who went out of his way to offer protection for other traders. 

Nasty C - Musician. Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo (Nasty C) is a rapper, song-writer and record producer. He has won 6 awards from over 15 nominations. Nasty C’s  songs Jungle and Strings N Bling, achieved double-platinum status. He also won the Best Freshman Award at the 2015 South African Hip Hop Awards at the age of 18, making him the youngest recipient for the award. 

Samkelo Radebe - Athlete. He is a paralympic sprint runner and high jumper who competes in the T45 class. Radebe lost both arms in an electrocution accident at age 9 and today has won multiple medals. He won the silver medal in the T46 100m race at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, and in 2011 gold as part of the 4 × 100 m relay team in the 2011 IPC World Championships. In the 2012 Paralympic Games, Radebe won a gold medal as part of the South African 4 × 100 m relay team in a world record time of 41.78 seconds. He has been chosen as Sportsman with a Disability of the Year at both the Ekurhuleni Sports Awards and the Gauteng Sports Awards.