Monday 14 August 2023


The Zulu are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with  many of them living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Zulu formed a powerful state in 1818 under the leader Shaka. Shaka, as the Zulu King, gained a large amount of power over the tribe. During the 1879 war, the Zulus defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January. The British managed to get the upper hand after the battle at Rorke's Drift, and subsequently win the war with the Zulu being defeated at the Battle of Ulundi on 4 July.

Once a year, in the heart of South Africa's Kingdom of the Zulu, thousands of people make the long journey to one of His Majesty’s, the King of the Zulu nation's royal residence at KwaNyokeni Palace. This is called the Royal Reed Dance festival - or Umkhosi woMhlanga in the Zulu language.

A dignified traditional ceremony, the Reed Dance festival is at same time a vibrant, festive occasion, which depicts the rich cultural heritage of the Kingdom of the Zulu and celebrates the proud origin of the Zulu people.

More than 10 000 maidens, from various communities throughout the province of KwaZulu- Natal, take part in the Reed Dance ceremony, with the rest of the Zulu nation helping them to celebrate their preparation for womanhood. Only virgins are permitted to take part in the festival to ensure that they are ritually 'pure'.

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