Zulu women grinding maize.


Essence of any culture, is determined on food any ethnic group devour. Zulu culture boats with a number of various and nourishing cuisine that were thrown away and replaced by the western noshes.

Zulu traditional cuisine could not cause any perilous diseases such as cancer. Western food we are devouring nowadays is fortified to contain various chemicals that causes fatal diseases in the body.

Diabetes, prostrate, breast cancer etc. Such diseases were never knew in South Africa, until we buy fortified food on the shelves.

I mentioned earlier on that cattle played an important role in the Zulu culture because cows were milked and slaughtered to provide milk and meat for the survival of the whole nation.

Zulu cow milking.

“Amasi” sour milk has been one of the most favourite Zulu traditional cuisine for years. Cows were milked and the milk were stored in calabashes without any preservatives or chemicals.

Igula lamasi / calabash of sour milk.

Corncob but is used to seal calabash’s opening. Calabash would have a small vent in the bottom called “umbhotshozelwa” to sift whey. When sour milk has set, it leave weak liquid called “whey” which is not required to make smooth “amasi” Whey are given to dogs.

“Umcaba” is made out of “izinkobe”. “Izinkobe” are boiled maize grain. Maize become harvested from the fields once hardened. Dried maize grains are boiled and stone grinded to make smooth powder called “umcaba”

“Umcaba” is stored in the designated callabashes called “iquthu” and it does not expire when dried in the sun and stored in “iquthu”. Sour milk are added on top of “umcaba” and served.

Iquthu for umcaba.

“Iquthu” would be carried by the Zulu warriors during wars to eat when they are hungry.

Iquthu would be carried by the Zulu warriors to eat during wars or for long journeys.

“Amasi” are eaten using tradition utensils. “Amasi” are mixed in the calabashes and devoured using “ukhezo”

Calabash to eat amasi.

“Ukhezo” looks like a spoon but it is crafted using certain type of wood. Skills of a wood worker are required to design “ukhezo” with an eye-catching patterns

Ukhezo was used to eat from the calabash.

When young Zulu boys eat “amasi” together with hands, they would advised to eat “amasi” using both hands.

Your right hand scoops into the calabash filled with “amasi” and pass handfull heap of “amasi” to the left hand and put it into your mouth. Its vice versa for the left handed people.

This process was done to delay those who are greedy to avoid them finishing “amasi” too quickly than others who are not greedy. Using one hand, can be advantageous to the greedy ones.

Compiled by: Sizwe Mkhize.

About the author

Related Post

Leave a comment

Please follow & like us :)
Follow by Email