Zulu constructed his new home using traditional ideas. This was a central and circular cattle fold. A crescent of pole and thatched bee hive homes for family members was erected on the steeply sloping ground. The cottages' floors were constructed of anthill sand and animal dung and were polished to seem like green marble. The walls were made of clay mixed with grass or bark fibers that had been pounded into thin sheets. These were then plastered with mud obtained from nearby riverbanks. The roofs were made of palm leaves held down by wooden posts.
In addition to the main house, each village contained a number of smaller one-roomed abodes for unmarried women or children. These were usually built along the boundaries of the village or near important public buildings such as the elders' huts.
The average size of a Zulu village was about half a mile square. It included around 50 huts. Each household kept some type of livestock, mainly goats and sheep, but they also had pigs, dogs, and sometimes chickens. They harvested corn, potatoes, beans, and peas in their own small gardens and hunted game when available. Although most Zulus lived in rural villages, several large cities founded by British colonists existed within the territory now occupied by South Africa. One of these was Pietermaritzburg, which serves today as the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. It is here that you will find many historical landmarks including a famous racecourse where horses have competed since 1882.
Beehive dwellings The beehive-style architecture is typical of traditional Zulu huts. The frame is built of poles bent inwards and roped together in a circle. When the framework is finished, it is covered with grass. The roof is made of clay or thatch.
Zulu people lived in these shelters when they were on the land they now occupy in South Africa. They are still used by some rural Zulus today. Before the arrival of Europeans, Zulus lived in small mobile camps that they would move from place to place depending on what food was available where they lived already. These camps could only accommodate about 20 families at most.
The Zulu as a people were originally nomads who moved around different parts of Africa looking for better grazing for their cattle. Around 1450, they settled down in present-day KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. There, under King Shaka, they developed a military kingdom that was one of the largest in Africa. However, due to internal wars, disease, and slavery, the Zulu population declined greatly. Now, only about half a million Zulus remain on the land they originally occupied.
People often think that Africans living in sub-Saharan Africa have always used spears and arrows as their main form of weapons because that's all that's shown in history books.
Traditional South African dwellings are built with materials that may be found anywhere. Traditional resources are used to construct Zulu houses, including common thatch grass, hyparrhania hirta, black wattle, Acacia mearnsii (saplings for hut walls), Natal fig Ficus natalensis bark for tying material, and rock alder, Canthium mundanium for pole support. Houses are usually made on stilts so they do not flood during rainstorms.
In addition to being inexpensive, traditional houses are very flexible in design. A house can be as simple or elaborate as you like; some are even made out of one single room! The choice of materials and the placement of doors and windows contribute to this flexibility. There are no right or wrong ways to build a house. The only rule is that it has to be self-sufficient: it should keep out the wind and rain if it's going to be our home for many years.
These days, many people prefer not to live in traditional houses because they think they're old-fashioned or not modern enough. But although they may look different, Zulu houses are just as efficient today as they were hundreds of years ago. They remain relatively inexpensive to build and easy to maintain. If you want your house to be unique or if you have money to spend, you can install electricity or air conditioning.
Zulu houses are made of black wattle saplings for the framework, natal fig bark for tying, and rock alder for the center pole support. The similar shaped Xhosa cottages, which are frequently painted, are made of dried mud. Huts for special occasions or people of rank have thatches of grass or feathers.
The Zulu built their huts in groups of about 30-50 near villages or towns. The men would drive a circle around the hut site with their horses so the smoke would not fill their lungs while they were hunting or fighting. Then they would stop and shoot the wood at their feet until there was a pile of kindling 10-20 feet high. From there, they would start building their house. Usually, it took only one night to build a good-sized hut.
Women and children would leave the camp early in the morning to go to a different location several miles away where the men had already dug a hole for them to sleep in at night. They would stay there until the next day when the men returned from hunting or warring and drove another circle around the new site to warn off any other villagers who might be hiding in the vicinity. Once the men had gone, the women would begin to work on their house, which would take about two days to complete.