South African Journal of African Languages

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The power of dreams and religious philosophy of the Zulu people as portrayed in the novel, Umshado

Sicelo Ziphozonke Ntshangase


This article examines how the Zulu people communicate with the dead and how the dead control the fortunes of those who remain in the world of the living. The data analysis was based on the deductions made from the events narrated in Nelisiwe Zulu’s novel, Umshado (marriage, wedding ceremony). The theoretical content analysis approach was utilised to frame the arguments posited in this investigation. The events that unfold in Zulu’s novel challenge the view that there is no life after death and that the dead cannot communicate with the living. The events in the novel are analysed qualitatively, using various theoretical frameworks such as ethnophilosophy, mythological criticism, and gender criticism. These theories assisted the researcher in illustrating the way that the living dead, through their manifestation in dreams and images, and also through izangoma (spiritual healers), influence the lives of the living.
AJOL African Journals Online