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This article is about the African ethnic group. For other meanings, see Zulu (disambiguation).

Zulu Warriors, late 19th century (with some Europeans in the background)
Total population: 5 million (est.)
Significant populations in: KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa: 5 million (est.)
LanguageisiZulu; many also speak English or Afrikaans.
ReligionChristian, Animist
Related ethnic groups Bantu

The Zulu are an African ethnic group of about 5 million people who live mainly in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Their language derives from Bantu. Under their king, Shaka, they expanded their kingdom in the early 1800s, from a minor clan of 1500 people to a great nation between the Tugela River and the Pongola River, through conquest and assimilation. They were partly responsible for the Mfecane - the catastophic forced migration of many clans around Zululand. Famous for their conflicts with Boer settlers and the British army in the 1800s (eg. the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879 where Zulus defeated British troops at Isandlwana on January 22.) Today they are known for their basketry and beadwork and as subsistence farmers. They have also brought their musical tradition to a world presence.

The singing styles the Zulu people and their Nguni heritage are worthy of special mention. Like much of Africa, music is considered highly, enabling the communication of emotions and situations which could not be made by talking. Zulu music incorporates rhythm, melody and harmony - the latter is usually dominant and known as "isigubudu" (which can be translated as converging horns on a beast, with tips touching the animal - viz. spiralling inward, reflecting inner feelings).

Their language is isiZulu.

In the Zulu language, Zulu means "heaven" or "sky".

See also