THE ZULU LOVE LETTER
The Zulu Love Letter – A creative way to say ‘I love you’, ‘I adore you’ or ‘be mine’.
If you’re wanting to confess your love to your partner the KwaZulu-Natal way, visit https://www.zulu.org.za/blog/product/beaded-love-letter/ to send the person you love your very own Zulu love letter! They can visit the same link to read up on what your beaded message means!
KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Zulu people and before we had the means to write actual letters, and way before we had cell phones to send instant messages of love, Zulu women used colour and beading to express their feelings and to communicate their marital status. When referring directly to a ‘Zulu love letter’, this consists of a beaded rectangular flap which is then attached to a band of beads. It is on the rectangular flap that a message is contained, where each colour is carefully chosen to convey feelings.
Colours being used together convey messages that can either be negative or positive. For example, it is said that when white and black are used together, this usually refers to a message pertaining to marriage. If red is shown next to black, this portrays an aching heart. To make things fun, if you are trying to tell the one you adore that you love them with all your heart, and you would like to marry them, a black and red triangle would be shown on a white background. White and blue together represents fidelity and is the most conventional symbol for an engagement. Red, black and yellow usually have negative connotations, and could possibly be used together to convey a message of a relationship that is not working.
The most commonly used shape in traditional Zulu beadwork is the triangle, which three corners represent the Mother, Father and Child. This shape is also used to indicate marital status and gender, for example, if the tip points upwards, this represents an unmarried girl. If the tip points downwards, this refers to an unmarried boy. When two triangles are used to form the shape of a diamond, this represents a married woman. A married man is shown by the use of two triangles where the tips meet in the middle, forming somewhat of an hourglass shape.
Let’s celebrate love this month, the KwaZulu-Natal way after all our province is the Zulu Kingdom! Join in on the fun and pass on your Zulu love letter!