The Zulus are the largest ethnic group in Southern Africa living mainly in the province Of Kwazulu Natal. There is smaller numbers that are also living in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique. A powerful Zulu state was formed in 1818 under the legendary Zulu King, King Shaka Zulu. King Shaka was known as the most influential monarchs of the Zulus and was the commander of the army of the powerful Mthethwa empire. King Shaka (1787 – 1828), ruled from 1816 to 1828 and was eventually assassinated by his brothers, after his death the Zulu empire weakened. In his earlier days, Shaka served as a warrior for Dingiswayo (a Methethwa chief). Shaka Zulu, (also sometimes known as the black Napoleon) rose to become the greatest of the Zulu kings. Shaka soon became very respected by his people, because of his background as a soldier taught the Zulus that the most effective way of becoming powerful quickly was by conquering and controlling other tribes. Increased military efficiency led to more and more clans being incorporated into Shaka’s Zulu empire. Shaka ruled over 250,000 people and had more than 50,000 warriors and had forged one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known. His teachings greatly influenced the social outlook of the Zulu people. The Zulu tribe soon developed a “warrior” mindset. Shaka is without doubt the greatest commander to come out of Africa. In 1879 the Zulus inflicted the heaviest defeat ever experienced by the imperial British Military. Because of King Shaka and his successors the Zulu people are arguably the most recognized in Africa. In honor of King Shaka there is large statue of King Shaka at Camden Market, London England, an airport named after him ie. King Shaka International Airport in Durban and uShaka Marine World, an aquatic theme park in Durban.
The Zulus religious beliefs is Christian, however many still retain their traditional pre-Christian beliefs of ancestor worship paralleled with Christianity. Their language is IsiZulu and is most widely spoken in South Africa. Zulu people hold their culture in high esteem, continuing with many of its ancient rituals, traditions and ceremonies. They believe in the presence of ancestral spirits. Today traditional Zulu families live in rural Zululand in homesteads ie kraals, they live in circular thatched huts. The men are always the head of a household are responsible for caring and defending their homesteads and cattle. The women hold domestic duties such as raising crops and looking after the children. The Zulus love storytelling, singing and dancing. The dancing is accompanied with drums and the men dress in their traditional warrior clothing. The Zulus also believe in magic and often seek the help of a traditional healer, when there is bad luck or illness. The traditional healer will communicate with ancestors, pray and use herbs to get rid of their problems. The traditional clothing of Zulus is for the men an apron made either from goat or cattle skin, they usually wear furs and feathers whilst the women wear a black skirt of goat or cattle skin. Unmarried women will cover her body with string of beads.
Zulus, are known for their craft making, pottery, beadwork and weaving.