Traditional Zulu Wedding

Traditional Zulu weddings in rural Zululand

The Zulu wedding can take many shapes and forms. Usually the bride changes at least three times on her wedding day, showing off to her in-laws how beautiful she is in different colours. Although it is not a Zulu custom for the bride to wear a traditional Christian white wedding gown, nowadays many brides prefer to do so. The wedding service takes place at the local church, and during this time the bride is dressed usually in white. After church the wedding party moves to the bridegroom’s home. The bride changes into a traditional Zulu outfit. One of the highlights of a traditional wedding comes when the parties from the bride’s and the groom’s families compete with each other through the medium of Zulu dance and songs.

During this ceremony the family of the groom slaughters a cow to show that they are accepting the bride into their home. The bride puts money inside the stomach of the cow while the crowd looks on. This is a sign that she is now part of the family. The wedding ceremony ends with the bride giving gifts in the form of blankets to her new family, including the extended family. This tradition is called ukwaba. Even the long-deceased family members receive gifts and are represented by the living ones. The family cover themselves with the blankets in an open area where everybody will see. The spectators ululate, sing, and dance for the family.

You are also encouraged to take part in the village’s Zulu culture and ceremonies. If you have the confidence we will give you a stick and shield to perform your own dance. Invariably there will be a huge ovation from the crowd…

Tours to these ceremonies leave from Sugar Hill Manor on Saturdays and Sundays from 12.00 pm – 5.30 pm; if you would like to experience this unique part of the Zulu culture, please contact Graham Chennells at or enquire here

Cost: R850 pp (2pm-5:30pm)

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