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BBe they in the enchanting and vast Drakensburg Mountains, Izintaba zoKhahlamba in Zulu, down along the south coast of Durban along the Umkomaas River Mouth, or any part of KwaZulu-Natal or South Africa for that matter, Zulus are generally a proud people. Whether one lives in a rural area or is an "urban Zulu", to paraphrase the late renowned popstar Busi Mhlongo, Zulus generally adhere to the beliefs of their forebearers—and live in many worlds in fact. Yes, invite them for a good helping of modern culinary delicacies, and no matter their country of origin, Zulus will happily join you—and enjoy the dishes on offer.  

Over and above their warmth towards meeting whoever visits the country, one of the abiding characteristics of Zulus today is their stubborn belief in their traditional customs and indigenous belief systems. From time immemorial, the Zulus have always held a strong belief that the closest human link the living have with God, uMvelinqangi is through the connection they have with amadlozi, a Zulu term for ancestors. This link is deeply spiritual, and helps to explain the Zulu people’s attitudes to ideas of fertility, life, fortune and misfortune as well as their general quest for a life lived purposefully and with integrity. The appreciation and elevation of amadlozi in the Zulu world and cosmological view say that there is never a stage where descendants of a family bloodline must sever their ties with the elders who preceded them. The living are dead without their beloved, and revered living-dead.

Whenever a family or an individual experiences a series of mishaps, questions of a possible need to appease the amadlozi arise and attain urgent attention. The call for one to appease the ancestors often involves the slaughtering of a beast, mainly a goat, and in some cases, a cow or more. When spiritual imbalances seem to wantonly threaten happiness, peace and family cohesion, you would hear Zulus ask one another about the possible wrath of the ancestors—ulaka lwabaphansi. Another way of expressing a similar sentiment in hard times is that of ukuqinisa or ukulungisa umsamo, the reinforcement and cleansing of one’s spiritual centre or pillar. 

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