1887

n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Perceptions of cremation as an alternative burial system among the Zulu people living in KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1683-0296
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Abstract

Africa is going through a tremendous and rapid change in every respect of human life; some of these changes being more circumstantial than otherwise. People are becoming increasingly detached from the corpus of their tribal traditional beliefs and practices. One of the changes pertains to cremation, an act of disposing of a deceased person's body by burning its remains. Zulu people, a major population group in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and a progeny of King Shaka Zulu are known to unwaveringly hold onto their cultural beliefs especially those that touch on the 'idlozi', living dead. HIV and AIDS pandemic in particular, have resulted in several deaths in the province calling for unconventional ways of disposing of dead bodies. A current debate on cremation as an alternative burial system at a time when municipal burial sites are increasingly becoming a scarcity thus becomes valid and critical. Municipalities are encouraging people to seriously consider cremation as an option to burial systems (Madlala, 2010: 1). In light of the circumstances highlighted above, we recently undertook a study whose aim was to explore the societal views on cremation amongst people of African descent in general and with special reference to the Zulu people living in KwaZulu-Natal and who was represented by Durban's largely populated areas (Zwane, 2011). This study was conducted in two areas; a semi-urban area represented by uMlazi and a rural area exemplified by Zwelibomvu. The researchers believed that this study was necessary as it would contribute in influencing society to review cremation for future decisions without feelings of coercion. Even though Umlazi residents are the most directly affected by burial land shortage, we thought including a rural area would also enhance the study so as to arrive at a balanced conclusion. This article, therefore reports on the findings of the study with reference to cremation as an alternative burial system amongst Zulu people.

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/content/linga/13/2/EJC166446
2014-01-01
2016-12-11

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