Zulu Love Letter – Incwadi Yothando

Zulu Love Letter

A Zulu Love Letter is a special message, that is created from different coloured beads by Zulu maidens, given to their lovers, to express their love and affection, or even their dissatisfaction. When young Zulu men left their homes to work in the cities, Zulu maidens made Zulu Love Letters to remind them of their love. Zulu Love letters are worn as a necklace or with a safety pin.

The first Zulu Love Letter was a simple one. It was made by threading different coloured beads onto a single strand, and reading the colours from end to end. Later, they took on the form of an ornamental square, and the message is read from the outer edge towards the centre. The triangle is the shape that is used in Zulu Love Letters, and the colours that are used, each convey a different message.

White:
True Love, Spiritual Love, Purity, Cleanliness, Hope

Black:
Marriage, Grief, Loneliness, Disappointment
“My heart has become as black as the rafters of the roof, as I hear you have another maiden.”

Yellow:
Wealth (or lack of)

Green:
Love Sickness, Jealousy

Blue:
Faithfulness,
“If I were a dove, I would fly through blue skies to reach you.”

Red:
Intense Love, Longing

Brown:
“My love is like the earth that rises to new life.”

Dark Turquoise:
Impatience,
“I am loosing hope that you will marry me.”

Light Turqouise:
He talks too much. He cannot keep a secret.

Purple:
New Friendship

I am in love with the Zulu Love Letter. I love the art of communicating how you feel without saying a word. There’s a certain mystery to it. It is truly beautiful.

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