What does it mean to be Zulu today? Is this different from what it has meant in the past? A new book of analysis and insight, Zulu Identities: Being Zulu Past and Present, edited by Dr. Benedict Carton, along with John Laband and Jabulani Sithole, wrestles with these and many other questions to show how the traditions of a pre-industrial people have evolved into different cultural expressions of “Zulu-ness” in modern South Africa.
This volume examines the legacies of Shaka, the intrigues of Zulu royalty, gender and generational struggles, cultural and symbolic projections, and spirituality. It highlights the debates in contemporary South Africa over the manipulation of Zulu heritage, whether deployed for party political purposes or exploited to promote eco- and battlefield-tourism. And finally the book contemplates the future of Zulu identity in a unitary South Africa seeking to embrace the forces of globalization.
September 30, 2008