Essay Example on Culture: African vs. Modern, Zulu vs. Oklahoma

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1023 Words
Date:  2023-04-24

Culture refers to the social norms, beliefs, and traditions of a specific group of people. Different people living in different geographical locations have got divergent ways of doing things. The Zulu people are the largest cultural group in South Africa. On the other hand, the Oklahoma people reside in America. These two groups of people had different cultural practices. They upheld the traditional African culture while the Oklahoma people represented the modern culture (Day 85). This essay discusses the Zulu culture in Africa and how it is similar and different from present day Oklahoma culture.

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The Zulu people believed in a supreme god whom they referred to as Nkulunklu. However, they believed that this god did not interact with humans. As a result, the people of Zulu interceded to the spirits who would, in turn, intercede to Nkulunkulu. The spirits mainly comprised of the dead and the ancestors. The people believed that no evil befell them due to bad luck. Evil was brought as punishment by the enraged spirits (Day 85). Therefore, they always did their best to please the spirits and the ancestors to prevent evil. On the other hand, the people of Oklahoma are a religiously diverse community, with the majority being Christians. They believed in the existence of God, who is the creator of the Universe and people. Majority of the churches in Oklahoma are protestant churches.

The traditional way of dressing among the Zulu people was special since women dressed according to their marital status. The unmarried Zulu women, in most cases, wore skirts that were made out of beads and cotton strings. These girls did not have a problem with exposing themselves because they intended to be attractive for young men. However, married women would wear clothes that cover most of their bodies. The descent dressing was a clear indication that they were already taken and are no longer searching for a husband. An engaged Zulu woman will wear clothes that cover her chest. Such women will mostly wear decorated clothing and carry out themselves concerning impress their in-laws. On the other hand, men wore a warrior headband (Firenzi 405). They also had an armband over their shoulders and special clothing to cover their genitals. This mode of dressing was significant in describing their various roles in the community. The young men were warriors and protectors of the land while the women did domestic chores such as taking care of the children. The Oklahoma traditional mode of dressing was, however, different as their men wore trousers, and women wore dresses. Such dressing stile was insignificant, unlike the Zulu people (Firenzi 405).

Among the Zulu, the birth was considered the first right of passage. A child's birth was taken to be a ceremony. The parents and the other community members celebrated the birth of a child. During this ceremony, the child was named. Children among the Zulu were named after their great grandfathers and ancestors. Marriage was not considered to be permanent until the birth of children. Puberty was another rite of passage among the Zulu people. The Zulu people underwent incitation to mark the transformation from childhood to adulthood. The initiation process involved the separation of the initiates from the rest of the community (Chahine et al. 13). They were taught many things concerning the community and skills to carry them through adult life. The initiates would be later welcomed back to the community through a feast. Rituals such as the killing of animals would be done to make peace with the ancestors. Other rites of passage amongst the Zulu people are marriage and death. On the contrary, the people of Oklahoma did not have certain rites of passages such as animation. They did not also consider birth and death to be very significant, like the Zulu people (Chahine et al. 13).

The people of Oklahoma were mainly cattle keepers. They had big ranches where they reared cows. As a result, they adopted the culture of cowboys. In the 20th century, Oklahoma was the main centre for cattle kipping. The people developed to be livestock traders as a means of earning their livelihood (Bragdon 168). They are loved for their friendly nature as they welcomed different people who passed by the region. Just like the people of Oklahoma, the Zulu were also cattle keepers. They reared a large herd of cattle as a means of livelihood. Moreover, those who had many herds of cattle were considered wealthy among the Zulu. However, they supplemented this economic activity by agriculture. The people grew indigenous crops such as maize, millets, and pumpkins. Women among the Zulu worked in the agricultural fields while men took care of the cattle (Bragdon 169).

Another similarity between the people of Zulu and Oklahoma is the culture of dancing. Just like the Zulu, the people of Oklahoma were also dancers. During the annual Red Earth Cultural festival, the people of Oklahoma typically display their dancing skills. Besides, the people of Oklahoma also loved music. The musical background of the people is evident by the origination of some popular musicians from the region. Folksingers such as Woody Guthrie and jazz artists Charlie Christian all have their roots back in Oklahoma (Houser et al. 33). The Zulu people also engaged in music and dances during their ceremonies. They had different songs to commemorate various events (Houser et al. 33).

Works Cited

Bragdon, Kathleen J. Native People of Southern New England, 1650-1775. Vol. 259. University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.

Chahine, Iman, and Wanjira Kinuthia. "Juxtaposing form, function, and social symbolism: An ethnomathematical analysis of indigenous technologies in the Zulu culture." Journal of Mathematics & Culture 7.1 (2013): 1-30.

ACADEMIA, http://Chahine, Iman, and Wanjira Kinuthia. "Juxtaposing form, function, and social symbolism: An ethnomathematical analysis of indigenous technologies in the Zulu culture." Journal of Mathematics & Culture 7.1 (2013): 1-30.

Day, Kathryn. "The right to literacy and cultural change: Zulu adolescents in post-apartheid rural South Africa." Cognitive development 29 (2014): 81-94.

Firenzi, Tara. "The changing functions of traditional dance in Zulu society: 1830-Present." The International Journal of African historical studies 45.3 (2012): 403-425. JSTOR,

Houser, Neil O., et al. "Navigating the reform-accountability culture in Oklahoma Social studies." Theory & Research in Social Education 45.1 (2017): 7-42.

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Essay Example on Culture: African vs. Modern, Zulu vs. Oklahoma. (2023, Apr 24). Retrieved from

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