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 Layout of a Zulu Kraal.

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Layout of a Zulu Kraal.    Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:01 am

Don't think this has been covered before.

"The Zulus call their home an 'umuzi'. The word 'kraal' is the European term for the rural homestead of a Zulu family.

A traditional kraal is surrounded by two circular stockades and thus serves as a primitive but effective defense structure. The huts are situated between the inner and outer stockade. In the center, the cattle are kept during the night and a smaller enclosure is constructed for the calves. In the areas exposed to danger, the fence is made of cut acacia trees. The flat and thorny tops are compacted to form an impenetrable wall thus affording the inhabitants and their precious cattle effective protection against beasts of prey and thieves.

Such an enclosure is usually built on a gently declining slope and, as a rule, has one main entrance that is always situated at the lowest point of the kraal. With the heavy rainfalls, dung and other dirt is thus washed through the entrance onto the vegetable plot below. Due to the slope, no rain water is retained and the bare ground of the kraal dries quickly.

In the case of an attack, the weak point of the settlement is the entrance. But, as the enemy has to fight uphill, the defenders have a strategic advantage. The quarters are used according to a pattern that is the same everywhere in Zululand. The hut on the highest point (indlunkhulu) furthest away from the entrance is occupied by the chief's mother and is the abode of the family's ancestors. The chief has his own smaller hut behind it to the right. The first wife is allocated accommodation to the left of the grandmother, and the second wife lives to the right of the chief's hut, the third wife to the left, the fourth again to the right, and the so on, always alternating from one side to the other. In the hut to the left side of the entrance, the unmarried daughters live, to the right, the young men reside. The chief's two oldest sons watch the entrance around the clock and check on visitors.

The small huts standing on poles are used for storage and watch towers when the kraal is under threat."

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dlancast

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PostSubject: Re: Layout of a Zulu Kraal.    Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:48 am

There are a couple of other interesting points about inside the hut. The entrance is built low on purpose. It forces anyone entering to be in a less agressive posture (almost on their knees) and therefore a defensive advantage to those inside. Once inside, as pointed out above, the women are on the left and the men are on the right, but in the center rear, is the place of honor with some tribute to ancestors, including the beer pot.

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