Zulu traditional religion contains numerous deities commonly associated with animals or general classes of natural phenomena. Unkulunkulu is the highest God and is the creator of humanity. UNkulunkulu ("the greatest one") was created in Uhlanga, a huge swamp of reeds, before he came to Earth. Unkulunkulu is sometimes conflated with the Sky Sun god UMvelinqangi (meaning "He who was in the very beginning"), god of thunder, earthquake whose other name is Unsondo, and is the son of Unkulunkulu the Father and Nomkhubulwane the Mother. The word Nomkhubulwane means the one who shapeshift into any form of an animal. Another name given for the supreme being Unkulunkulu is uSomandla the ultimate Source of all existence.
Other deities include Nomhoyi, the goddess of rivers, and Nomkhubulwane, sometimes called the Zulu Demeter, who is a goddess of the rainbow, agriculture, rain and beer (which she invented),and She is goddess the Mother who is Ma, uNgungi, the deity of the blacksmiths, iNyanga the moon goddess associated with healers who are called IziNyanga; the word Nyanga is a Zulu word for the moon, Sonzwaphi the deity of healing, Ukhulukhulwanaa star being ancestor who came from the stars and found the ancient Zulus living like animals and without laws. He taught them to built huts and taught them the high laws of isiNtu.The word UNkulunkulu is suspected to be a corruption of the word Ukhulukhulwana.
For further references: Let Not My Country Die by Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa.
Umsamo Iziko LamaThongo by Prof V.V.O.Mkhize.
Edited by Edmund Mandla Tsawe [NdabazeThongo].
Irving Hexham (born 14 April 1943) is a Canadian academic and writer who has published twenty-three books and numerous articles, chapters, and book reviews in respected academic journals. Currently, he is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, married to Dr. Karla Poewe who is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, and the father of two children. He holds dual British and Canadian citizenship.List of religions and spiritual traditions
While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a
[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."
A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.Religion in South Africa
South Africa is a secular state with a diverse religious population. Its constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Many religions are represented in the ethnic and regional diversity of the population. Christianity, especially in its Protestant forms, predominates.Zulu people
The Zulu (; Zulu: amaZulu) are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated 10–12 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.