Photos & Video: Umkhehlo

Umkhehlo (Zulu engagement ceremony) is a rite of passage ceremony for a Zulu woman about to get married. Family, friends, neighbors, her in-laws come and rejoice and pin money on her hat, scarf, umbrella. This money is given so as to help her prepare for the wedding and buy gifts (umabo) for her in-laws.

Umkhehlo is slightly different from Umemulo (Coming of age ceremony). Umemulo is done by a girl’s father to thank her for showing good behavior  and to mark her transition from just being a little girl to a woman – in Western terms this the 21st birthday celebration. Both rituals involve slaughtering a cow and dancing.

This event here took place in April 2019, deep in the heart of Zululand in an area called Encanyini, Melmoth.