As most of you know I live in the heart of Zululand, a region reigned by the hereditary King of the Zulu people.
Most Zulus today are members of Christian churches, but they are also still firmly rooted in traditions involving the spirits of their ancestors. As a result many Zulus will have two wedding ceremonies in one day, when they want to tie the knot for life. I was invited by one of my Zulu colleagues to capture his wedding. This is the resulting picture report.
The day started with the Christian wedding ceremony in the garden of a local hotel with everyone in modern dress. It was followed by a reception in the community hall. The traditional wedding ceremony commenced in the early afternoon at the groom’s homestead.
The process – from the arrival of the bride’s family in the early morning hours, their traditional ‘camping’ under a tree in the vicinity, the slaughter of a few cows to feed the large wedding party, the preparation of the groom’s family including a visit to the ancestral hut on the property, the approach of the bridal party to the groom’s homestead, the dancing and singing, the interview of the bride by the wedding official and the delivery of the wedding gifts to the grooms’ family – was following a strict protocol with the main aim to please the ancestors.
As normal in Zulu tradition love and emotion between women and men are not displayed publicly, so a handshake between Nothando – the bride – and Muzikayise – the groom – was the equivalent of the wedding kiss after the couple was officially married.
I learned a lot more about the Zulus and their traditions that day, but the main lesson was that they love to sing and dance, to have fun and to please their ancestors!
Enjoy the pictures!