KwaZulu-Natal is the smallest province in South Africa, yet it contains the remnants of the once powerful Zulu tribe. The history of the Zulu people is rather short in comparison to other tribes in Africa. In this essay I hope to briefly discuss the Zulu history, what makes them unique, the Zulu religion, the interaction with the British colonial groups, how the Zulu nation came to come into power, and where the present day Zulu people stand in society today. .
It is not known exactly when or how the Zulu tribe came into existence, but it is thought it originated around the 1620â€™s. Because there is no real evidence that describes the origin of the Zulu people, one has to filter through some of the local folklore of the native people of what is now Natal. It is said that a man named Malandela and his wife, Nozinja, are said to have lived a nomadic life in the Babanango which is located in the northern part of Natal. In their search for grazing land for their cattle and better hunting grounds, Malandela and Nozinja eventually came upon an area of Natal where thy discovered the Mandawe Hill. This hill lies a few miles outside the present day town of Eshowe and provided an excellent view of his grazing cattle and an incredible amount of wild game. This legend continues with Malandela leaving the Mandawe Hill and going back to the Babanango to â€œjoin his ancestors.â€ 1.
After Malandelaâ€™s death, Nozinja decided to immigrate north and take her son, Zulu. As the little household belonged to a patriarchal society, Zulu became its head, for a woman is considered to be subservient to the senior man in the family2. Zulu eventually took a wife, and his mother found the lobola or â€œdowryâ€ to be given to the brideâ€™s father from her little heard of white cattle. The marriage of Zulu and his bride marked the beginning of the Zulu clan, and it also laid the foundations for what was to become the Zulu nation.