Zulu Culture
The Layout of the Zulu Kraal
Zulu Kraals
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The Umuzi

Natal South Africa 2010

The Zulu term is umuzi and consists of two concentric palisades of thorn trunks. The huts are located inside the outer palisade and the cattle in the inner circle with a smaller enclosure there for the calves.

PalisadeThe kraal is usually built on a slight slope with the main entrance at the lower end. This enables rainwater to clean the cattle kraal, the ground dries quickly and any foe has to fight uphill. Small huts on poles act as storage huts or watchtowers.

The largest hut, opposite the entrance, is that of the chief's mother. The chief's hut is to the right, the first wife is to the right of the chief's mother, the second wife is to the left of the chief's hut, the third wife to the right of the first wife and so on.

 The watchtowerThe unmarried girls live on the left of the entrance, the unmarried boys, to the right. The two elder sons also vet any visitors and man the entrance around the clock. Visitors are either rejected, expected to wait for an appropriate length of time or ushered in immediately depending on their relation to the family.

Those that are allowed in experience the siyakuleka ikhaya display where the gatekeeper sings the praises of the chief. The function of gatekeeper is also very useful in another way in that he will assume the role of chief on his father's death and will be familiar with all those who visited his father and their treatment.