A Zulu Valentine’s Day cowhide gift?

The French may consider themselves lovers paramour, but I feel the Zulus definitely steal a march on our French friends!“Ngi Thanda Wena” – I love you! Trips off the tongue much better than Je ‘taime! So why not give your loved one a unique Valentine’s Day cowhide gift from Zulucow?!

The Zulus may be renowned for their bellicose nature – famously depicted in the 70s film: ‘Zulu’ (starring a fresh young Michael Caine) yet they have a culture of giving Love Letters, and we’re not talking about some flimsy bit of French parchment at that…but beautifully crafted BEADED love letters.  Zulu maidens give their lovers these ‘Zulu Love Letters’ as symbols of their love and affection. Each bead colour conveys a different message.


White is a symbol of hope, purity, cleanliness and true love.

Black symbolises grief, loneliness. “My heart has turned as black as the rafters in the hut as I hear you have another maiden.”

Yellow is a symbol of wealth (or lack of.) If we marry I will be hungry as you own no bull to slaughter.

Green: Love sickness, jealousy, I have become as thin as a blade of grass pining for you.

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


Turquoise: Impatience, I am losing hope that you will marry me.

Red: Intense love, longing, my heart bleeds with love for you.

Pink: Abject poverty, if you keep on gambling and wasting money, you will never save enough for my Lobola (dowry paid in cattle)

Brown: My love is like the earth that gives rise to new life.

Striped beads: symblises doubt, accusations, two timing. You are like the Ntothoviyane (striped grass hopper) springing from bush to bush.