The word zulu means ‘heaven’. The Zulu people, amaZulu, are ‘the people of heaven’ and their home, KwaZulu, is ‘the place of heaven’.
Part of the ancient Nguni tribes, the amaZulu are the descendants of Iron Age farmers who left the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa and migrated down Africa’s east coast to make a home in what is now South Africa, where they gathered into small tribes and clans called imzi.
Within the Nguni nations, the clan – based on male ancestry – forms the highest social unit. Each clan is led by a mighty chieftain, whose power often depends on how well he is able to hold his clan together.