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South African Music
Traditional Music
Popular Music

The South African culture has many qualities that we, in Canada, would not necessarily understand. But they are very proud of their culture and they have gone through many pains to preserve the old traditions of the past.

The Zulu are a people in South Africa that have many different traditions than other countries. "Zulu" means the people of heaven and they are a group that in renowned for being very charitable and hospitable towards all sorts of people. They are fiercely protective and proud of their heritage. The Zulu language is very expressive and contains different 'clicking' sounds, an example of this is found in Miriam Makeba's song, The Click Song. She made this song to showcase the Zulu culture and the fact that it influences the lives of many South Africans. There are a few things that are always done by the Zulus that may seem weird to the rest of us. If you were shopping for curios in the region and you bought from a Zulu woman, she would only pass you the item with her right hand and the palm of her left hand would be under the right forearm. This custom is very important and it has it's own significance. The woman does this to show you that she holds no weapons and that she will do you no harm. As in many cultures, the Zulu place high value on dances and singing. Each dance movement has a meaning and symbolizes something that is happening in the clan at that time. The Zulu have held strong the rules of conduct on family that we would find very strange. They have quite disciplined home structures. They have certain rituals and customs that affect and influence all aspects of their lives, such as: the brewing of beer, ancestral worship and places of burial, the dress code for men, women and children, the role of their traditional healer, the importance of a man's cattle, courtship and compensation for a man when he loses a daughter. The principles of witchcraft and superstition are still strong there as well. The Zulu also place significance in beads. Each colour of beads has it's own significance and the Zulu women are able to weave message of love, grief or poverty with the beads.


These are Zulu people
doing a traditional dance

Most of the older traditions that have been preserved are in rural communities in South Africa. One, for example, is a Xhosa custom of a groom paying a bride a cow before they get married. In other places, little villages that are no more than a few huts built in a circle, under one chef. A lot of these things exist in South Africa, there are a fair amount of little communities that are so friendly, but that follow traditions that we could not recognize. In the larger cities, because a lot of South Africa is now developed, one could live a life that is similar to one in Canada or the United States. But no matter where you go you will find obvious signs of the traditions, beliefs and practices that are native to the country. The cultures and traditions of South Africa run very deep into their society and are very important to their way of life. 
Johannesburg, the capital of South Africa

Music of the World- Grade 10 Band project