Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Zulu (amaZulu) are a Nguni people who live mainly in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, with smaller numbers in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. They form the largest South African ethnic population, estimated at 9 million. They have close cultural, ethnic-linguistic affinities with the Xhosa, Swazi, Basotho, and Matabele. Their language, isiZulu , belongs to the Bantu language stock. In the early 19th century, Chief Shaka (c. 1787–1828) united various Nguni peoples through new techniques of warfare and expansive conquest, thus forming a powerful Zulu nation. The Zulu kingdom has played a significant role in forming and shaping South African history. Today, the Zulu are one of the major players in South African politics. The Zulu religious worldview is complex; it is tied to social, cultural, political, and economic life. Ritual is central to Zulu religious life and helps to maintain relationships to the powers of life. Three elements that are ...