An experiential investigation into the phenomenon of respect in Zulu culture

  • Buyi Mbele
  • Luvuyo Makhaba
  • Dumisani Nzima
  • Mandla Hlongwane
  • Jabu Thwala
  • David Edwards
  • Mbali Sibiya
  • Steve Edwards
Keywords: Respect, Africa, Zulu, ukuhlonipha, ubuntu, culture


The goal of this article was to explore the phenomenon of respect as experienced by South African psychologists with special reference to Zulu culture. The narrative experiences of six isiZulu speaking psychologists with regard to the isiZulu concept of respect (Ukuhlonipha) were thematically analysed and synthesized by two independent English speaking psychologists. Five main interrelated themes respectively emerged of Ukuhlonipha as: pillar of African humanity (Ubuntu); including ancestors, marriage, family, parents and children; special language, narrative, story and/or textual reality; harmony, order and discipline; and gratitude and appreciation. These findings reiterated the manner in which African people have always recognized respect, as a concept, experience and practice with spiritual and cultural dimensions of great breadth, depth and height. Such practice is recognized as crucial for the promotion of local, international and global health and wellbeing.

Keywords: Respect, Africa, Zulu, ukuhlonipha, ubuntu, culture


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1683-0296