First Fruits (Southern Africa)

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The First Fruits festivals of the Nguni peoples in Southern Africa[1] are a type of sacrificial ceremony of giving the first fruits in a harvest to God, or the gods who are believed to be responsible for the abundance of food. It was performed by the high priests of the kingdom and the king was always in attendance. Traditionally it marked a time of prosperity, in the good harvests experienced after the seasonal agricultural period.

It also brought the nation together, unifying it at a time of merry making and quashing fears of famine. The tradition is still practiced mainly in the kingdoms of KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland. These ceremonies are headed by the kings of the tribes, namely King Mswati the third in Swaziland, celebrated as Incwala, and King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation, celebrated as Umkhosi Wokweshwama.


  1. ^ Snedegar, Keith, [First Fruit Celebrations among the Nguni Peoples of Southern Africa: An Ethnoastromical Interpretation], Science History Publications, 1998. Retrieved 2011/03/18.