ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Zulu State: Economic Organisation of the Zulu State
- The economy was centralized and controlled by the king. He was the sole distributor of war booty and food production.
- The most important economic activity in the Zulu kingdom was cattle rearing
- Cattle rearing was only done by men
- Cattle provided meat and milk which was the main diet of the Zulu
- They also provided skins which were used for making shields and clothes
- In the Zulu culture a man normally would not keep his cattle but would give to someone to look after them and this was called ukusisa.
- The Zulu also reared sheep, goats and fowls and these animals were used for meat and skins
- They also domesticated the dog and used it for hunting
- The Zulu women and old men practiced agriculture
- They grew maize, water-melons, calabash, pumpkins and different kinds of edible tubers and beans
- The king was responsible for the official opening of the hoeing season and he planted and harvested first
- The Zulu had a special ceremony for planting to begin called licking of the hoe
- Iron smelting was another economic activity of the Zulu and it was done by blacksmiths.
- They smelted tools like assegais, hoes, various kinds of knives, axes and ornaments such as rings
- The Zulu practiced internal with the locals and eternal trade with the Portuguese at Delagoa Bay
- They traded in goods like grain, iron tools and baskets locally and gold, ivory and silver externally
- The Zulu people also did craftwork such as basketry, pottery and weaving
- They also collected tributes from vassal states
- Raiding was also an important part of the Zulu state
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