Tag Archives: ancestors
December 12, 2012

Daliso Ndlovu talks about traditional healing

Daliso’s contact details:

189198 Umzinyathi Rd
Inanda 4310

0610926389 or 071572300

Related link:

Ukuthwasa (A Sangoma’s Training) – Ulwazi Programme



December 7, 2012

Daliso Ndlovu – importance of goats in Zulu culture

Daliso Ndlovu talks about the significance of goats in Zulu culture

Daliso’s contact details:

189198 Umzinyathi Rd
Inanda 4310

0610926389 or 071572300

December 7, 2012

Daliso Ndlovu about traditional healing and Christianity

Traditional healer, Daliso Ndlovu, talks about the relationship between traditional healing and Christianity.

Daliso’s contact details:

189198 Umzinyathi Rd
Inanda 4310

0610926389 or 071572300

December 5, 2012

Daliso Ndlovu about his training as a traditional healer

Daliso Ndlovu is one of the youngest traditional healers in Inanda. He talks about his training as a sangoma and nyanga.

Daliso’s contact details:

189198 Umzinyathi Rd
Inanda 4310

0610926389 or 071572300

November 30, 2012

Learners at Ohlange High School showcase their culture

These videos were recorded at Ohlange High School as part of a community outreach project run by the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the learners are part of the ‘Tourism Club’, an extra-curricular programme for learners who are interested in heritage and tourism. The initial videos were recorded in preparation for Tourism Month and Heritage Day in August/September 2012. Learners were encouraged to showcase their artistic performance talents and knowledge about traditional customary practices and Zulu heritage. Most of the performances were not staged or rehearsed but spontaneously recorded. They provide a glimpse into these young peoples’ lives and their understanding of traditional culture and heritage.

Ohlange High School learners perform a dance

Cynthia Mthembu explains how to make Zulu beer

Or listen to the audio clip:

Nothando Mathabela explains how to make Zulu beer

Or listen to the audio clip: Nothando Mathabela explains how to make Zulu beer

Cyprian Vilakazi talks about Umemulo

Or listen to audio clip: Cyprian Vilakazi talks about Umemulo

Nompilo Mthembu talks about Zulu ancestral beliefs

Or listen to the audio clip:Nompilo Mthembu – Zulu Ancestral beliefs

Three learners perform a traditional song


Siswe Notshe talks about the Nazareth Baptist (Shembe) Church

Or listen to the audio clip:Sizwe Notshe – Shembe


Learners explain male Zulu attire

Or listen to the audio clip:Male Zulu attire

November 15, 2012

Zulu beer

Zulu beer is traditional beer which is known as uMqombothi but also called IsiZulu; it is a big part of the Zulu culture.

It is tradition to make Zulu beer, from the past, our fore fathers made Zulu beer and was passed on from generation to generation. A ritual is not complete without Zulu beer; in fact it has never been without Zulu beer. It is the foundation of every ritual, no matter how small it is. Remembering the dead, weddings, umemulo and other rituals Zulu beer is made, it is very important. When remembering the dead or when visiting a gravesite, one may make Zulu beer even if they are not going to slaughter an animal.

It is believed that the ancestors will not recognise the ritual that one is performing if Zulu beer is not part of it or they will not recognise it, it is believed to be done for the ancestors. It may be a way of communing with the dead. As they also used to make it, it is a way of connecting with them as they believed in it. When making Zulu beer, we are communicating with them, it is a source of food for our ancestors, it is what they used to drink it and so it is significant.

Women make Zulu beer, usually the mother of the household and the daughter-in-law (makoti). It is her duty as a makoti to make Zulu beer for her in-laws, she creates a good name for herself if is able to make good Zulu beer.

Zulu beer after boiling

When still in the process of making the beer, it is stored in the kitchen, at a warm place for it to have sour-like taste and covered with a net for it to inflate. That is just the mixture of maize, sorghum, millet and warm water, which is before boiling; the sour-like taste will show that it is ready for boiling. After the whole process, one beer pot is store ‘emsamu’, which is where incense will be burnt together with the meat and other food.

Anyone is allowed to drink Zulu beer, whoever wants to, from the older people to the young people. And the one who made the Zulu beer has to take the first sip.

Zulu beer is made on every ritual, it is made for any occasions, umemulo, umhlonyana, weddings, funerals, even for a party and also for just remembering the ancestors or when visiting the gravesite of a dead family member.

The main purpose of Zulu beer is to commune with the ancestors, to remember family that has passed on, to celebrate and Zulu beer is tradition.

The beer pot is made of clay; women make it and put it on fire for it to be firm. It is tradition to drink Zulu beer from the beer pot; it is specifically made for Zulu beer. It is covered with a lid made with the same grass (imbenge) that is used for the grass mat, it the lid is upside down, it shows that the beer pot is empty.

Ayanda Ngcobo (October 2012)

November 9, 2012

Sacrificing a goat

How to prepare (slaughter) a goat (Xolani Magwaza, September 2012)
My name is Xolani Magwaza, a 24 year old male from Inanda Township in a place called (UMzinyathi) I am currently doing my Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching at Edgewood campus University of Kwa- Zulu Natal (South Africa). I am writing this article to share my interesting story about “killing a goat” and things to consider. The reason why I want to share my story with the rest of the world is because I am proud of my culture and I using this article as a way to encourage young people all over the world to love, respect, research, document and embrace their cultures. To me culture is not a lifestyle, but it is who I am, born to be and vision to be. Without it, I am not whole.

I will prefer to use the word “prepare” because slaughter sounds harsh/evil thus the process and the aim of such act/ ritual is not, it same as preparing a meal. In my culture (Zulu Culture) minding a difference in different clans, there is a difference between male and female duties at home. What boys are expected to do when they are young and grown up is different from what girls are expected to do in the passage of growing up both at home and in the society. For an example there is a big “misconception” that it girls duty to clean the house and wash dishes and it boys duty to look after cattle or clean the yard. If you are a boy and you are found doing “girls duties”, you will be bullied by boys and even some girls sometimes. You will have names like “sissy, mother’s baby or you not a man enough”.
Preparing a goat is a duty of a male person/ boy. The feeling is the same as hunting birds as a boy. If you have never shot a bird with a sling shot “oh!!! Boy, you will be bullied”. It will feel like you are in a lower rank of boyhood/ manhood. Even younger boys will be challenging you to fight with you because they feel like you not strong enough. For one to graduate and earn respect, one has to have a kill.

A goat is an important animal amongst the Zulu nation and in Africa at large. The Zulus sees a goat as their main animal. It valued more than a cow. The cow is only good for meat, milk and ploughing. However a goat can be used for it milk, meat and as a coupon/passage to communicate with the ancestors, to ask for good luck and to wash away or prevent bad lucks. If a child is born a goat has to be prepared to formally introduce a child at home. If a woman is getting married, she has to be formally introduced at her husband home to be her real home. A goat will be prepared for such ritual. Lastly if a girl gets pregnant before marriage, the boy has to pay a goat as a way to cleanse the home/family of a pregnant girl. Getting pregnant before marriage amongst the Zulus is seen as bad luck. The goat for such ritual is normally prepared outside the yard/ homestead of a girl to prevent bad luck from entering to the girl’s family. There are so many things that a goat is used for amongst the Zulu’s. Therefore this article does not have all the answers and information is due to be critiqued.

• Preparing a goat
Due to the urbanisation effects people have lost their cattle as they don’t have land for grazing. This has forced people to buy goats from farmers. However, one has to understand that there is a difference between a goat boat from the farmer and the one that grew up at home. The one that grew up at home is seen as the right goat to prepare for the rituals as the ancestors know it. Therefore if one buys a goat from the farm. One has to have a white (silver) coin. This white coin is used as a form of a convector. The goat will then be exchanged and formally be for that family. In this way the ancestors will welcome the goats as theirs. The white coin is given to an elder member of a family to use it.
Once the goat is at home. It can be prepared/ killed. Before it is killed an elder male person at home has to burn a herb called “Impepho”. Impepho is an incent that is used to communicate/ speak with the ancestors. He will than pull the goat next to the incent smoke and deliver his message to the ancestors. If the goat was prepared without impepho, that ritual will not be successful.

Boys from age ten to adults will gather with their knives. An elder or a boy who is confident to do the “preparing” will than hold the goat horns tightly while two young boys or an elder will hold its hind legs. The same will happen with the front legs. The sharp knife will be used to cut the cartilage and the veins in the neck. Underneath the goat there is a big dish washing dish to contain the blood form pouring down to the ground. The blood is important as it is used to prepared another meal called “ububende” a mixture of goat blood and it intestines. Once the goat has stopped moving. It has to be stretched to prevent it from getting hard.

After that, a big stand is used to place the goat. This can be a door of a house or any big flat substance that can contain a goat. The leading boy or man will than skin the goat from the neck, round it chest, passing the stomach down to the tail. Other boys will be removing the skin from all four legs. Sometimes feasting is used to remove the skin from the body. Once the goat is skinless. The skin is placed to protect the meat from getting dirty. The following face is removing intestines and all insides. An experienced person must do such procedure because gall bladder “Inyongo” is one of the important parts of the goats that are used in a ritual. If the gall bladder busts, it can spoil the meat because it has a bitter taste. Therefore an experienced person must perform such task or a beginner can perform it under the guidance of an experienced person. The insides “intestines” are not thrown away. They are cleaned and stoned in a bucket or a dish. They are used to prepare a nice meal called “umgxabhiso”.

The goat will then be hanged in a room that is prepared for the ancestors. In that room there is a Zulu beer pots full of Zulu beer and a burned incense. The reason why it is hanged and not cooked in that day is that the ancestors have to see their food, eat it before any one has a bite. Next morning, the boys will chop the goat, separating it in two pieces than cooked in a big pot at the same time.
Things to consider

• If a male person passes away and you want to do a ritual for him a male goat has to be bought. However if it is not found, the silver coin can be used to change it gender visa vi.

• A black goat is not used. Black symbolises bad luck amongst the Zulus. A silver coin has to be used as a way to change it colour.

• A sheep is not used for rituals but for feasting, the reason being that they don’t make a loud noise, even when they are being killed. However a goat screams. That screaming is seen as talking to the ancestors.