We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who are the Zulu?

By Matthew F.
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Zulu are a people of southeast Africa who comprise the largest ethnic group of the country of South Africa. With a population of nearly 11 million, the Zulu are found most predominantly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and have played a large part in South African history. They are a member of the Bantu peoples of Africa that share a common history and family of languages, and the smaller group of Nguni pastoralist peoples that have occupied southern Africa for over 2000 years. The Zulu are also prominent in Zimbabwe and Mozambique and gave Africa one of its most influential figures in Shaka Zulu.

Speaking a language known as isiZulu, the Zulu have been a major clan in the area that is now South Africa for centuries, since at least the 800s. As a non-industrialized society, the Zulu rely on farming and agriculture for their economy and their food. They adhere to traditional forms of clothing, often scant and revealing, that feature many beads, which are important to the Zulu culture. They also follow traditional forms of healing and many family customs remain from the 9th century.

Like many primitive African religions, many Zulu today maintain the teachings of ancient Zulu religionists. They believe in the existence of a God, and that the misfortunes of people are due to evil spirits, omens, and actions. Many Zulus have accepted other religions, most notably Christianity, though traditionalism remains the most popular. The Zulu people, with their emergence as a major African empire in the 19th century, also brought with them a distinct style of music, featuring dominant harmonies known as isigubudu. Their music has permeated Western sounds and has found a niche among American and British pop performers since the 1970s.

Zulus emerged as a major South African power in 1816 with the beginnings of the Zulu Empire under the leader Shaka Zulu. Shaka united a mixed group of Zulu tribes into a powerful, unified Zulu confederacy. With an empire of near 250,000 people and an army of around 50,000, Shaka gained his first military victory at Gqokli Hill early in his rule, and continued to gain power until he was assassinated in 1828. Fifty years after Shaka’s death, the Zulu people would be defeated by the British in battle at Ulundi, and absorbed into the Cape Colony, thus ending their decades of power and independence. Under the legal segregation of apartheid, the Zulu would have created for them a Zulu homeland called KwaZulu, where they remained until the first free national elections in 1994. Since 1994, the Zulu people have seen many important members of their population prominent in South African politics.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon316120 — On Jan 27, 2013

What role does food play in the Zulu, Venda and Xhosa cultures? Can anyone tell me?

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.