Zulu Architecture

Zulu Architecture is the architecture of the Zulu People. Zulu Architecture is comprised of compounds, capitals, organization layout, and materials, in the dwelling space.
Traditional Zulu Kraal

Traditional Zulu Kraal

Traditional Zulu Kraals were circular cattle enclosures. They were typically alongside a hill, to avoid floods. They were circular compounds, fenced with wooden post. Two fence exist: the exterior fence and the interior fence. The exterior fence was the strongest. Along the exterior fence family compounds straddled in a circular manner. The interior fence held cattle in a circular form. Compounds were constructed between the exterior and interior fence.  The number of huts corresponded to the number of wives. Huts were made of poles and long-grass. Zulu huts were very strong. Anecdote run that only an elephant could knock down a Zulu hut. The entranceway was two feet high and three feet wide. Doors were woven of pliable sticks made to fit the entrance. Inside floors were shinning ebony. A special type of dirt processed by white ants and wattle and daub was used to achieve this polish look. Women took pride in the polished look. Women were responsible for building huts. A saucer like fire place was dug in the center of the ground with 6 inches
Umgungundhlovu, militarize kraal
portruding upward on the side, to keep debri from spreading.

Shaka's Capital

Shaka took the traditional Zulu homestead and turned it into a military fortress, a structure setup for perpetual war. Shaka's capital was littered with domed shaped thatched structures. The capital was elliptical in shape with a circumference of three miles. These structures were next to a hill for sanitary purpose. Each domed dwelling was spaced for personal privacy and space, similiar to a homestead. The entire kraal was setup to reflect Shaka's complete authority.

Dingaan's Capital, Umgungundhlovu 

Dingaan's capital consisted of 1,700 domical structures, built in 1836. Domed huts lined the elliptical form in rows of 6 through 8. Each domed hut could hold 20 soldiers. At the center was the cattle gathering area, enclosed by an interior fence, where the king examined his men. The entrance of the capital was directly in front of the isigodlo, the highly fortified royal enclosure. It was probably the largest kraal and most ostentious ever created.

Cetshwayo's Capital-Ulundi

Works Cited