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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Nguni Speakers

The Nguni Speakers section of All About South Africa (South African History) would fit into Tapestry of Grace Y1.

Before I started with Tapestry of Grace, a friend and I did some homeschool unit studies on South Africa with our 6 children. Now that I am using TOG, I would do one of two things. First, South Africa has 40 weeks in their school year, while TOG only does 36, so I could take a week away from TOG here and there and add in a week of SA History. But if my year is too busy, I would just take the time to read the section in All About South Africa and add one of the books to read, if I have it.

Ideas to Incorporate:
  • Make a Zulu shield out of fake fur and wooden skewers
  • Make an African Drum
  • Make Mealie Meal Bread (see recipe below) or Pap, and serve with chicken and pumpkin
  • Learn about Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi
  • Learn about Nguni cattle
  • Study the Iron Age
  • Place a picture of each of the people groups on the appropriate place on a South African map
  • Talk about the roles of women and men in the Nguni culture. Have children dramatize.
Field Trip:
Lesedi Cultural Village (Gauteng)
Guests are divided into smaller groups and taken on a guided tour of our five homesteads: Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Ndebele and Pedi


Early South Africans were mostly hunter-gatherers. They depended on foods such as tortoises, crayfish, coconuts, and squash to survive. The practice of modern agriculture was introduced by the Bantu, natives of northern Africa. They taught inhabitants to grow vegetables such as corn ("mealies"), squash, and sweet potatoes.

It is customary for children to eat from the same dish, usually a big basin. This derives from a "share what you have" belief which is part of ubuntu (humane) philosophy.

Mealie Meal Bread (I got this recipe years ago - not sure where I got it from!)

1 ½ cups Milk
2 cups Mealie Meal
1 tsp Salt 
4 tbsp Butter (or Margarine) 
3 Eggs, beaten 
2 tsp Baking Powder 

Heat 1 cup of the milk and then blend the other ½ cup of milk together with the mealie meal. Then add the mealie meal, salt and butter to the cup of hot milk and mix well. Cool and then add the beaten eggs and baking powder. Blend well and turn in to a greased loaf tin. Bake at 180’C/350’F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Iron Age 
Traditional African Clothing
African Jewelry
African Farmers

Field Trips:
Lesedi Cultural Village (Gauteng)

Books to look for: 
I have had some success in finding SA books by watching on, and don't forget your local library!

Zulu Traditions and Cultures by Aubrey Elliot
The Xhosa and their Traditional Way of Life by Aubrey Elliot
Looking at the Zulu by Roger and Pat de la Harpe
Looking at the Xhosa by Roger and Pat de la Harpe
The Abundant Herds: A Celebration of the Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People by Leigh Voigt

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