As we approach the end of heritage month, we should take a look at the important aspect of culture, "Respect".
One of the most dominant cultures in South Africa is isiZulu culture, Zulu people are known for being proud of their culture and they value respect (ukuhlonipha). Zulu people are taught respect from a young age, they are taught to respect the young and respect the old (ukuhlonipha omdala, uhloniphe montane).
There are different forms of Respect (ukuhlonipha) in Zulu culture, such as respect for women (ukuhlonipha kwabafazi) and respect for ancestors (ukuhlonipha abaphansi). The traditional Zulu Women language of respect is different from that of men's respect.
In Zulu culture, married women are expected to respect their in-laws especially their father-in-law (Ubabezala) and their mother-in-law (Mamezala), and avoid all words whose first characters are the same as the first letters of her father-in-law’s name or any word that includes the whole part of their father-in-law’s name. Respect is shown not only in speech or in communication but also dressing and grooming.
Married Zulu women are expected to respect their body and show respect to their husbands through dress codes, in Zulu culture is taboo for a married woman to wear pants, wear short skirts that are above knees and wear shoulder revealing t-shirts. It is custom for married to cover their heads with a headwrap and wear long dresses to show the stage of life they are in.
It is also taboo for married woman to look her parents-in-law straight in the eye when talking to them, she should kneel and bow down her head.
Respect (ukuhlonipha) is not the only language, bodily posture, components, and clothing are part of it too.
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