Zulu people might have same culture, but different in tribal customs. It is very common to find certain families practising their own set of customs and habits within a Zulu culture.

For example Zondi and Zuma people incise their faces to portray their own tribal mark.


Dr. Ben Sipho Ngubane, former Arts and Culture minister – and former Premier of KwaZulu Natal, had his little finger cut to respect tribal custom of Ngubane’s clan.

Ngubane’s cut the tip of a little finger as per their own set of customs that are not universal in the Zulu culture.

Tribal mark of Dinka in South Sudan.

Dinka people in South Sudan mark their bodies to show an ethnic group they belong.

Why African people incise themselves with such indelible mark?

Africa is or was once engulfed by ethnic wars.

King Shaka born in 1887 and died on the 24th September 1828, he fought with many Zulu kingdoms, confiscicated and consilidated them into a Zulu gigantic ethnic group.

African tribal wars in the past.

Such wars would cause commotions and confusion among people. They would scatter and unable to locate each other, hence they innovate a plan to find one another easily by making tribal marks on their bodies.

Those bodily marks subsequently, entreched to the ethnic groups in diversity as their customs. People get sick if such tribal mark is not done on their skin.

President of South Africa: Jacob Zuma’s countenance, does reflect Zuma tribal mark.

President of South Africa: Jacob Zuma’s countenance reflects Zuma tribal marks.

Ethnic wars might have stopped, but tribal marking of skin has never halted because it changed into customs of those ethnic groups in diversity.

Tribal bodily mark, is done on new babies delivered to welcome them into the relevant family clan.

Some other Zulu tribes, do not mark their body to welcome a baby into the family, they just slaughter a goat and cut small strip out of goat’s skin to make a baby’s bracelet, in that manner a baby would be welcomed in.

Negative consequences may result if somebody could not performed those tribal marks when he/she was young.

Such person might become sick, hitten by car, bitten by the snakes, but does not die. He/she can die, if failing to perform such customs.

Mordenized African person might be faced with some setbacks thinking it is just life challenges at large, whereas those misfortunes are eminating from his family’s or tribal’s customs disregard.

Compiled by: Sipho Mkhize.

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