Find your true life work in Africa.

Find your true life work in Africa. Africa is home to more unknown history than known. A map of Africa does not begin to show the vastness of people, culture, food, living and ancient history of the African continent. Established 2008 Chic African Culture is a learning tool to meet the demand for better education about the entire continent of Africa.


Find your true life work in Africa.

A lion that is caged will hate the one that is free. - with love from your ancestors

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Wearing Neck Rings

Wearing Neck Rings

About African neck rings

Idzila are Ndebele wives traditionally wear rings around the neck as a status symbol

Idzila are Ndebele wives traditionally wear rings around the neck as a status symbol and wear rings around the arms, legs, and neck.

Wearing Neck Rings

For centuries, married South African Ndebele tribes’ women saw wearing heavy rings around their neck as an honored status symbol. Neck rings are any form of stiff necklaces worn around the neck of an individual. The neck rings are usually made of copper or brass.

During initiation, girls wear an array of colorfully beaded hoops called izigolwan around their legs, arms, waist, and neck. After marriage, the Ndebele wife would wear copper and brass rings around her arms, legs, and neck, symbolizing her bond and faithfulness to her husband, once her home was built. 

Idzila rings were believed to have strong ritual powers. Husbands used to provide their wives with rings; the richer the husband, the more rings the wife would wear. These outward symbols can be removed only in case of death of the spouse. Today it is no longer common practice to wear these rings permanently. 

About the South African Ndebele Tribe 

The South African Ndebele origins are unknown however; their history can be traced back to chief Mafana in the 1600s. The Ndebele first officially recorded chief, chief Mafana was succeeded by chief Mhlanga.  

The Ndebele second chief Mhlanga had a son named Musi who decided to leave his homeland. Chief Mhlanga did not name an heir, after his death his two sons argued over the position, and the tribe divided into two divisions, the Manala, and the Ndzundza.

Their tribal homeland, KwaNdebele, was created in 1979, during apartheid, when the white South African government forced blacks onto "homelands" under a policy that confined 87% of the country's population onto 13% of its land. The 97-square-mile Ndebele homeland was set up in the Transvaal, in what is now known as Mpumalanga province.

South African Ndebele people maintained the use of the isiNdebele language, rituals, customs and art forms as a means of asserting their identity and resistance to outsiders. The Ndebele wall paintings have a strong symbolic value and are closely linked to the home and to the relationship of the person. 

Women paint on the outside walls and sometimes also on the interior walls with rich geometric patterns learned from childhood.  The walls are changed and repainted in particular moments of family life. This art form has developed in the second half of the nineteenth century, using bright of the brightest colors. Earth tones were used in the past.

Idzila are Ndebele women elongating rings around neck are traditionally worn by Ndebele wives as a status symbol around her arms, legs and neck.

Over time, among the youngest populations, this custom to wear the idzila neck rings for a lifetime is disappearing.

Share this page

Chic African Culture Featured Articles

Find your true life work in Africa.

A wise person does not fall down on the same hill twice.