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Saturday, October 22, 2011


An A-Z of culture and traditions. (Review by Janet Whelan)

This informative little book by Ulrich von Kapff provides a brief but interesting introduction to the Zulu, covering many different aspects – from food and drink to courtship, dress and etiquette. Concise discussions of key figures in Zulu culture, history as well as critical battles, weaponry and war formation are also covered to create a unique glimpse of a fascinating people.

Most importantly, customs such as the handshake; importance and value placed on ancestors, and the accepted way of giving and receiving gifts are explained. In the post-Apartheid era of South African history, this is a must-read for everyone living in or involved with the country generally and the Zulus in particular, in order to foster a better understanding of the history and customs of this proud and colourful people.

The Zulu: An A-Z of culture and traditions is beautifully laid out with numerous suitable illustrations. At the end of the book there is a comprehensive index and glossary together with a map of KwaZulu-Natal. Illustrated by Ilala Weavers and Adam Carnegie, it is published in 2011 by Struik Travel & Heritage (an imprint of Random House Struik (Pty) Ltd) ISBN 781770079298. Recommended retail price R145. – Janet Whelan