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Zulu Warrior with Shield

Zulu Warrior Key Chain
Zulu Warrior Key Chain
Item# KC34

Product Description

Zulu Warrior Key Chain
Size of keychain:
Height: 2 ¼ inches
Width: 1/16 inch
Length: 1 inches
Hand Crafted in South Africa

This Key chain is made in South Africa. This key chain is depicting a Zulu Warrior with his Shield.

About The Zulu
The Zulu (Zulu: amaZulu) are the largest South African ethnic group of an estimated 10–11 million people who live mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. Their language, Zulu, is a Bantu language; more specifically, part of the Nguni subgroup. The Zulu Kingdom played a major role in South African history during the 19th and 20th centuries. Under apartheid, Zulu people were classed as third-class citizens and suffered from state-sanctioned discrimination. They remain today the most numerous ethnic group in South Africa, and now have equal rights along with all other citizens.

The modern Zulu population is fairly evenly distributed in both urban and rural areas. Although KwaZulu-Natal is still their heartland, large numbers have been attracted to the relative economic prosperity of Gauteng province. Indeed, Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in the province, followed by Sotho. Zulu is also widely spoken in rural and small-town Mpumalanga province.

Zulus also play an important part in South African politics. Mangosuthu Buthelezi served a term as Minister of Home Affairs in the government of national unity which came into power in 1994, when reduction of civil conflict between ANC and IFP followers was a key national issue. Within the country, South African President Jacob Zuma and former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of the country are Zulu, in part to bolster the ruling ANC's claim to be a pan-ethnic national party and refute IFP claims that it was primarily a Xhosa party.

Traditional male clothing is usually light, consisting of a two-part apron (similar to a loincloth) used to cover the genitals and buttocks. The front piece is called the umutsha, and is usually made of springbok or other animal hide twisted into different bands which cover the genitals. The rear piece, called the ibheshu, is made of a single piece of springbok or cattle hide, and its length is usually used as an indicator of age and social position; longer amabheshu (plural of ibheshu) are worn by older men. Married men will usually also wear a headband, called the umqhele , which is usually also made of springbok hide, or leopard hide by men of higher social status, such as chiefs. Zulu men will also wear cow tails as bracelets and anklets called imishokobezi during ceremonies and rituals, such as weddings or dances.

About The Zulu Warrior
An impi is an isiZulu word for any armed body of men. However, in English it is often used to refer to a Zulu regiment, which is called an ibutho in Zulu. Its beginnings lie far back in historic tribal warfare customs, where groups of armed men called impis battled. They were systematized radically by the Zulu king Shaka, who was then only the exiled illegitimate son of king Senzangakona, but already showing much prowess as a general in the army of Mthethwa king Dingiswayo in the Mthethwa-Ndwandwe war in the early 1810s.

The Zulu impi is popularly identified with the ascent of T'chaka, ruler of the relatively small Zulu tribe before its explosion across the landscape of southern Africa, but its earliest shape as a purposeful instrument of statecraft lies in the innovations of the Mwetha chieftain Dingiswayo, according to some historians (Morris 1965). These innovations in turn drew upon existing tribal customs, such as the iNtanga. This was an age grade traditions common among many of the Bantu peoples of the continent's southern region. Youths were organized into age groups, with each cohort responsible for certain duties and tribal ceremonies. Periodically, the older age grades were summoned to the kraals of sub-chieftains, or inDunas for consultations, assignments, and an induction ceremony that marked their transition from boys to full-fledged adults and warriors, the ukuButbwa. Kraal or settlement elders generally handled local disputes and issues. Above them were the inDunas, and above the inDunas stood the chief of a particular clan lineage or tribe. The inDunas handled administrative matters for their chiefs - ranging from settlement of disputes, to the collection of taxes. In time of war, the inDunas supervised the fighting men in their areas, forming leadership of the military forces deployed for combat. The age grade iNtangas, under the guidance of the inDunas, formed the basis for the systematic regimental organization that would become known worldwide as the impi.

About the Zulu Warrior’s Weapons
An Shaka is credited with introducing a new variant of the traditional weapon, discarding the long, spindly throwing weapon and instituting a heavy, shorter stabbing spear. He is also said to have introduced a larger, heavier cowhide shield, and trained his forces to thus close with the enemy in more effective hand-to-hand combat. The throwing spear was not discarded, but standardised like the stabbing implement and carried as a missile weapon, typically discharged at the foe, before close contact. These weapons changes integrated with and facilitated an aggressive mobility and tactical organisation.

As weapons the Zulu warrior carried the iklwa stabbing spear (losing one could result in execution) and knobkerrie (clubs or cudgels) for beating an enemy in the manner of a mace. He also carried shields, which were property of the king. The iklwa - so named because of the sucking sound it made when withdrawn from a human body - with its long (c. 25 cm) tip was an invention of Shaka that superseded the older thrown ipapa (so named because of the "pa-pa" sound it made as it flew through the air). It could theoretically be used both in melee and as a thrown weapon, but warriors were forbidden in Shaka's day from throwing it, which would disarm them and give their opponents something to throw back. Moreover, Shaka felt it discouraged warriors from closing into hand to hand combat.