Speak Zulu: 20 easy Zulu Words to Impress Your Friends

Zulu is the language of the Zulu people with well over 9 million speakers most of whom are in South Africa. Zulu is one of South Africa's eleven official languages since 1994.

Speak Zulu

Below are 20 easy Zulu words with their English phonetic pronunciation:

Buya [bu-ja] -Come back

Cela [ne-la]- To wish

iGoli [e-goːli]- Soil

ihembe [e:him:mbe]- Bed

isibili [is:see:billːli]- Bead

Khala [ka-la]- To cry

Khuluma [ku-lu-ma] -To speak

Kulula [gu-lu-la] -It’s easy

Lapha [la-pa] -Here

Lapho [la-po] -There

Lutho [lu-to]- Nothing

Moja! [mo-ts-cha] -Cool

Nini [ni-ni] -When

Phuza [pu-sa] -To drink

Sawubona [Sa-u-bu-o-na] - Hello

Suka [su-ga] -To go away

Thanda [tan-da] - To love

Thi [ti] -To say

Uju [ooːjew]- Jump

Yami [ja-mi] -My

You cannot know the good within yourself if you cannot see it in others - Zulu Proverb

Zulu Beer Strainer and Skimmer also known as a Isikhetho
Zulu Beer Strainer and Skimmer is also known as a Isikhetho

Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

As with most aspects of African culture, the specifics of basket weaving and the woven baskets themselves embody spiritual as well as aesthetic and practical qualities. Although basketry materials, techniques, and uses have varied among tribal cultures and have changed over time, baskets are the oldest handmade vessels used by African peoples and one of the most ancient of art forms. Although basket making has become obsolete in some tribes with the passage of time, nearly every indigenous group throughout Africa has utilized basketry at some point: whether for food preparation and storage, as animal and fishing traps, to transport goods for sacred and ceremonial purposes.

Traditional Zulu Ilala Palm basket weaving technique styles are Imbenge, Isichumo, Isiquabetho, and Ukhamba.
Imbenge - A small, saucer-shaped bowl traditionally woven with Ilala palm and grass fibers used as a platter or a lid.

Isichumo - Baskets have a tight firm weave with a bottle-shaped used for carrying liquids.

Isiquabetho - Baskets are large bowl-shaped baskets used for gathering and carrying harvested foods and everyday materials.

Ukhamba - Baskets are decorative and colorful bulb shaped container, made watertight by the tautness of the weave.
Isiquabetho - African Zulu baskets are large bowl-shaped baskets used for gathering and carrying harvested foods and everyday materials. Isiquabetho African Zulu basket. 

For many Zulu Ilala Palm basket makers, the finished baskets are living metaphors of Zulu African people’s connection to the earth and to the seasonal cycles of life that influence the rules governing the harvesting and preparation of the organic materials used to make Zulu Ilala Palm baskets. The Ilala Palm grows along the North Eastern Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in Southern Africa. Once cut and dried, the leaf is then prepared for weaving into fine, often watertight baskets. In African cultures, baskets represent functional art with a story that continues to be told.

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