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Unkulunkulu (/uɲɠulun'ɠulu/) is the Supreme Creator in the language of the Zulu people.

In classical, pre-colonial Zulu myth, Unkulunkulu brought human beings and cattle from an area of reeds. He created everything, from land and water to man and the animals. He is considered the first man as well as the parent of all Zulu. He taught the Zulu how to hunt, how to make fire, and how to grow food.[1]

With the arrival of Christian missionaries, Unkulunkulu became the name for the Christian supreme being.[2] For Christian people, the name simply means "God". Other names include uMdali "Creator", uMvelinqandi "Before everything", analogous to Umvelinqangi in the isiXhosa language.


  1. ^ Leeming & Leeming 2009 - entry "Zulu Creation". Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  2. ^ The Library of His Excellency Sir George Grey, KCB: A catalogue Compiled by W H I Bleek, Sir George Grey and J Cameron Vol 4, London and Cape Town 1867


  • Leeming, David Adams; Leeming, Margaret Adams (2009). A Dictionary of Creation Myths (Oxford Reference Online ed.). Oxford University Press.
  • Rev. Canon Callaway, Unkulunkulu: The tradition of creation as existing among the Amazulu and other tribes of South Africa, 1868
  • Andrew Severance Burgess, Unkulunkulu in Zululand, 1934

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