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 Zulu beliefs

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24th



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PostSubject: Zulu beliefs   Mon 25 May 2009 - 18:24

I thought it might be interesting to discuss the various Zulu beliefs and the reasoning behind them, we have discussed the ritual of Disembowelling but I wonder just how many others there are. I came across this one.

A small, spiky, shiny-leaved bush, a buffalo thorn (Ziziphus mucronata) plant of great cultural and medicinal significance to many African tribes, not least the Zulus who, among other names, call it umphafa or isiLahla - 'that which buries' - for Zulu tradition is quite clear: should a person die in a place that is not their imuzi or homestead, their spirit will be restive and unsettled until someone from the village arrives with a branch of isiLahla.

The messenger should go to the exact spot where their compatriot died and ask the person's spirit to enter the branch (the tree's straight thorns direct the spirit onto the branch; the curved hooks ensure it doesn't fall off) whereupon it's taken back to the homestead to allow the spirit to finally rest and join the revered ranks of the ancestors.

A small, spiky, shiny-leaved bush called a buffalo thorn plant of great cultural and medicinal significance to many African tribes, not least the Zulus who, among other names, call it umphafa or isiLahla - 'that which buries' - for Zulu tradition is quite clear: should a person die in a place that is not their imuzi or homestead, their spirit will be restive and unsettled until someone from the village arrives with a branch of isiLahla.

The messenger should go to the exact spot where their compatriot died and ask the person's spirit to enter the branch (the tree's straight thorns direct the spirit onto the branch; the curved hooks ensure it doesn't fall off) whereupon it's taken back to the homestead to allow the spirit to finally rest and join the revered ranks of the ancestors.
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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu beliefs   Mon 25 May 2009 - 18:34

Is there not one of these plants, planted near the Zulu monument at Rorkes Drift.
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sas1



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu beliefs   Mon 25 May 2009 - 20:26

The only possible way to appeal to the spirit world is to invoke the ancestors (AmaDlozi) through divination processes. The diviner, who is always female, is called the sangoma. She plays an important part in the daily lives of Zulu tribe members. It is believed that all bad things, as well as death, result from evil sorcery or offended spirits. No misfortune is ever perceived as the result of natural causes.
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John



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu beliefs   Wed 27 May 2009 - 19:54

The Zulu traditionally live in huts, in the back of which is generally situated a small area reserved for the ancestors, who are believed to dwell in the village. The ancestors are often consulted, and at times are believed to visit the living through dreams, which are interpreted by the diviners, or in the form of snakes. More rarely they return in the form of their ghost, when the appropriate rituals have not been observed after a death.

Zulu dreams, which can greatly influence the life of the individual, are the principal channel of communication with the ancestors, who play a fundamental role in Zulu society. In particular, they are believed to offer protection to members of their lineage, by whom they must be appeased and respected. Through dreams, the ancestral spirits can express both approval and disapproval of the actions-past, present, and future-of their descendants. Also, dreams are of diagnostic and prognostic significance in the tribal medical system, especially when psychogenic disorders occur.

Many dreams are believed to be prophetic and to indicate a course of action to be followed by the dreamer. For example, as Levy-Bruhl suggests, a Zulu will treat a friend as an enemy because of a dream in which the latter intended to hurt him. The omen of the dream may be either similar or opposite to its apparent content, presenting a pattern typical of the interpretation of dreams in Western countries, where dream reversal is often suspected.

Dreams possess the status of superior realities and are generally seen to have an active power. Their reality is not limited to what is seen and heard. For example, in Zulu thinking a pain in the shoulders after dreaming represents a sign of spirit activity.
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