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BEING ZULU: The Tribe Of The Zulu Of South Africa

Zulu Culture, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Who are the Zulu, You may ask. A Bantu ethnic group in South Africa is the kingdom of the Zulu people. Known for their rich cultural heritage, and unique language, the Zulu make up the biggest tribal group in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela, expresidente de Sudáfrica
Nelson Mandela

The word Zulu means “Sky”and according to oral history, Zulu was the name of the ancestor who founded the Zulu royal line in about 1670. Today it is estimated that there are more than 45 million South Africans, and the Zulu people make up about 22% of this number.

The Zulu people stand out around the world in culture, with their unique culture, language and historical legacy.

Largest group.

South Africa is home to various ethnic groups and tribes. The major tribes in South Africa include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, Ndebele, and San. However, it’s challenging to provide an exact percentage breakdown of tribes in South Africa because of the country’s complex demographic landscape and the fact that many South Africans identify with multiple cultural groups.

Providing precise percentages for each tribe in South Africa is difficult due to the complex nature of the country’s demographics and the fact that many South Africans identify with multiple cultural groups. However, I can provide rough estimates based on available data:

1. Zulu: Approximately 22% 

2. Xhosa: Approximately 16%

3. Basotho: Approximately 11%

4. Bapedi: Approximately 10%

5. Venda: Approximately 8%

6. Tswana: Approximately 8%

7. Tsonga: Approximately 8%

8. Swazi: Approximately 3%

9. Ndebele: Approximately 2%

10. San: Approximately 1%

These percentages are rough estimates and may vary depending on the source and the criteria used for classification.

A brief history about the Zulu people being a Bantu ethnic group from Southern Africa, primarily found in present-day South Africa. They emerged as a distinct group in the early 19th century under the leadership of Shaka Zulu. Shaka revolutionized Zulu warfare, introducing new tactics and weaponry, such as the short stabbing spear, known as the assegai, and large cowhide shields. His military innovations helped the Zulu kingdom expand its territory and influence.

After Shaka’s death in 1828, his half-brothers, Dingane and then Mpande, succeeded him. Under Mpande’s rule, the Zulu kingdom reached its zenith. However, the Zulu Kingdom faced challenges from British colonial expansion, culminating in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. The war ended with British victory and the annexation of Zululand into the British Empire. Despite this, the Zulu people maintained their cultural identity and are now one of South Africa’s largest ethnic groups.

Image by Getty via AFP
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