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The History and Meaning of the Zulu Shield



We're thrilled and excited to add the historic Zulu shields to our collection of African weaponry this season! What makes these shields so special? They have been a part of African history for centuries and were used by Zulu tribesmen in battle. Now the shields are used for traditional ceremonies including weddings and funerals. They are also a source of income for many Zulu people. 

It is always exciting to find such a unique and authentic piece of African history and bring it to our customers. Symbolically, the Zulu shield has long been believed to provide protection as well as provide medicinal or magic powers. Before battle, shields were sprinkled with herbs to give protective power to the shield and ensure the warrior came to no harm. Zulu shields are crafted from goatskin or cowhide (the Zulu shields we carry are made from goatskin) sewn onto a wooden frame. There are five types of shields used for different occasions:

 1 - Isihlangu - This is the largest shield, measuring 5 ft. tall! It is a battle shield and was used by King Shaka Zulu himself. 

2 - Umbumbuluzo - This small battle shield could easily be used while running or attacking.

 3 - Ihubelo - This small shield is used for courting and is dyed red.

 4 - Igqoka - This is a small dancing shield that is used during traditional ceremonies.

5 - Ihawu - This is a basic warrior shield that is very hard to find these days. White Zulu shields are normally kept by Zulu chiefs or a high-ranking Zulu warrior. Black and white or black are easier to find and are for the traditional warriors. 

Where Can I Find Zulu Shields? You can choose from a variety of Zulu shields in white, brown, or black on our web site here. You can also find them in various African festivals or Black History Month festivals occasionally.