David Rycroft South Africa Collection

First Fruits Ceremony: narration.

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  • Subjects

    Zulu folksongs and dance

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    South Africa

  • Recordist

    Rycroft, David, 1924-1997

  • Speakers

    Rycroft, David (narrator, male)

  • Description

    Rycroft narrates some information about the Zulu first fruits ceremony called Ukweshama (also known as umkhosi). He explains that this ceremony has seldom been practiced since the fall of the Zulu Kingdom in 1879. However, the AmaNgcobo clan have kept this ceremony alive through annual celebrations. Rycroft provides a very detailed introduction to this five-day festival. He explains how the chief Umlungisi Ngcobo, goes into solitary confinement for three days during the festival. He stays in his hut and abstains from food and communication with the outside world. During his confinement, he communicates with the amadlozi (ancestors). After three days his loyal supporters, the amashoshozelo arrive and sing the chief's praises and a special anthem for the spirits of the AmaNgcobo clan. Rycroft explains how while the amashoshozelo sing the songs for the chief, the women prepare certain concoctions and medicines in the cattle kraal, which they will give to the chief to give him strength. The women collect food from the new harvest for the festival. The women need to prepare the dress for the ceremony. The unmarried men and women dress in elaborate costume for the occasion. He explains how the chief and the men prepare to slaughter the animals.

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