Zulu: Theme 3 - Numbers, days, months, seasons

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Days of the week

The days of the week changed their original Zulu names because of the Western influence of the missionaries.  They brought along with them working days, i.e. ngoLwesibili (the second working day - Tuesday), ngoLwesithathu (the third working day), ngoLwesine (the fourth working day), ngoLwesihlanu (the fifth working day).   Sunday became known as the day of going to church (isonto), thus ngeSonto.

Months in Zulu

Traditionally, the Zulu named the different times of the seasons together with the various activities within those seasons.  July is uNcwaba, the first month of the Zulu year, so called because new green grass appears after burning the lands. The month of August is uMandulo which indicates that cultivation of the land has started. The onomatopoeic word uMfumfu is the name for September.  This word has the meaning of sprouting or coming out.  March is Mbasa, which is the time to make fires and move inside the huts. Nowadays, the Zulu names for months are based on their English equivalents; e.g. uJanuwari (January).