"An exploration into Zulu Culture" Top 5 Page for this destination South Africa Travelogue by MikeAtSea
South Africa Travel Guide: 11,765 reviews and 27,791 photos
On the outskits of the town Eshowe in Northern KwaZulu Natal some 120 km away from Durban, the former capital of Zululand Shakaland can be found. Originally built as a film set for the movie series Shaka Zulu today it is a hotel and a cultural centre where one can experience Zulu culture first hand.
It is administered by the Protea Hotel Group hence international standards are combined with tradition. A must of any visitor to the region. I took my parents to Shakaland a few years ago, and the photographs have been taken by my father.
Women and men are clearly "seperated" in Zulu culture. Women are responsible for the house hold and the children where as men are responsible for war fare, cattle and the most important part drinking beer. On the picture one can see a married and an engaged woman. The married woman with her traditional hat and body coverings, and the engaged woman covering her breasts indicating that someone has shown interest, but has not paid iLobola the brides price of 11 head of cattle yet.
Outside the great hut, which can be seen in the background Zulu boys and teens master their strenght with speer fighting. An interesting sight where normally a referee is at hand who breaks the fights to ensure that no one gets hurt. The area where the two are fighting is the cattle ground, cattle is kept in this enclosure during the night.
Traditionally the head of the family is burried here. In a sitting position since he has to watch out for his remaining family.
Traditional medicine is big in Zulu culture. Even when visiting larger towns and cities one will always find traditional healers, such as the Medicine Man pictured here or the iSangoma.
With the spirits of the deceased, herbs and the various fruits of the field and bush traditional medicine is mixed.
Also important to Zulus if they have a problem or need advise in marriage, or to find out how many children the future wife will bring.
Another imporant part in Zulu tradition is dancing. Here at Shakaland the dances are done in the great hut. Women and men are seperated, men sit on the right and women on the left and a selection of dances, from hunting to war dances are featured.
Shakaland is situated in the green hills about 40 km away from the coast line. Eshowe which means translated from the Zulu as "Place of the Wind" is a picturesque and proud region of South Africa. Here the Godetrouw Dam is in the background one of the main water sources of the area.
Protea Hotels offer a great hotel adjacent to the traditional Zulu homestead. Accommodation is offered in rondavels and offer traditional comfort. The cuisine of the hotel also enables guests to sample traditional Zulu meals.
Shakaland is available for day visitors, though you have to book in advance, since during peak time many visitors arrive here. An overnight visit is generally recommended!
If you like it a little more rugged, you can also try Shakalands sister property Simunye, which offers an even more traditional view into Zulu life and is not as busy as Shakaland. For information on the hotel visit the web page: www.shakaland.co.za .
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