Zulu culture is rich in heritage and tradition. Some of these traditions, however can create difficulties for new investigators seeking to join the Church. Obeying the laws and commandments of the gospel can be seen by some family members as being contrary to cherished traditions of Zulu culture. It takes great commitment and courage for investigators to do what is right in these situations. Here are a few of the traditions that can create great challenges for new investigators.
"Lobola" -- Lobola is the payment, that the family of the bride requires from the suitor before the marriage is allowed. Because of the difficulty in obtaining the large amount of money usually involved, many couples live together and raise a family, sometimes for their whole lives, without getting married. This is, of course, contrary to the law of chastity. Often, if the situation is approached with sensitivity, a solution can be found.
"Polygamy" -- While polygamy is not as common now as in years past, it is still an accepted practice in some Zulu families. The Lord's instructions in our day are that a man should be married to only one wife. (Of interest: The current king of South Africa has numerous wives and when he selects a wife, it is unlawful to refuse. Recently, he chose a church member's wife to be his next selection, and great care was taken by the LDS Church here in South Africa, to talk him out of that selection, and explain why she could not be taken as his wife. Good relations were able to be maintained.)
"Ancestor Worship" -- Central to Zulu culture, and similar to our own beliefs, is a reverence and respect for ancestors. New investigators should be taught that our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness is built around families, and that we love our children and honor our ancestors. Some Zulu families, however, actually worship their ancestors and perform animal sacrifices as a way of honoring them. They should be taught that this is not appropriate after understanding the plan of salvation and joining the restored church.