"" Writer's Wanderings: The Zulu

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Zulu

Yes, I admit to being a skeptic especially when it comes to souvenirs. A while ago I was buying wooden objects and my criteria was that they be of native wood and made by a native of that country. I was in a hurry one day and bought something in the Caribbean and got it home, turned it over to see that it was made in China.

In Cape Town, South Africa we strolled through a art and craft pavilion and I fell in love with a beaded necklace. The sales lady said it was made by the Zulu. I really didn't care at the time. I liked the necklace and it looked well made and we bought it. But was it really made by the Zulu? And who are the Zulu? Now that I'm home and have the time and most importantly a good internet connection I thought I would check it out.

The word Zulu means "sky" and according to oral history, Zulu was the name of the ancestor who founded the royal line about 1670. The Zulu make up about 22% of the South African population. The largest concentration is near Durban which is quite a ways from Cape Town. Still, it's quite feasible that the owner of the jewelry booth could have had pieces shipped to her.

Zulu or not, the necklace is my favorite souvenir.

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