Zulu wares

Zulu (imbizas and khambas)

Pottery has been made in KwaZulu Natal since about 150 BC by hunter gatherers, but the earliest found examples of ceramics by Bantu-speaking agrarian societies dates back to about 400 AD.

Beer pots (Ukhamba) are still used to serve traditional beer, which is a communal ritual inextricably entwined with Zulu culture and traditional religion.  Okhamba are blackened over smoky fire, which is then rubbed with beef fat as an act of respect for the ancestors. 

Izimbiza are used for the actual brewing of beer.  The porous quality of the clay lends itself to fermentation, and the pots are fired only once and not blackened through carbonization.

2 Potters at work


Maputo pot


Ukamba with burnishing tools
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