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Much of Africa is divided up into a great many small tribal states, though there are also some larger African states. In some nations leaders have used Western knowledge and technology to carve out an empire. Many of the smaller African states are in a constant state of flux as politics, including war, causes changes of borders and regimes on a frequent basis. Some African states are ruled by European adventurers, or dynasties of the same.

Even though Africa is more divided than it is in the real world it is no less developed or peaceful. This is partly the result of much less European colonialism there in this world, which led to much less division of Africa along arbitrary lines with no consideration of local politics. This is particularly the case in the interior of central Africa where many states have never been ruled by Europeans.

A large area of North Africa forms part of the French Empire. This is made up of the colonies of Morocco, Algeria, Tripoli, Tunis, Mauritania, Samori, Sefadu and Senegal.

Along with the OSU many of the states of East Africa are part of the Alexandrian Concord, an economic, political and military organisation formed for the purposes of mutual trade and protection [not unlike the EU of the real world]. The Alexandrian Concord leads the world in geothermal energy technology, exploiting power from the East African Rift.

A number of small African states are essentially corporate fiefs. They tend to be states whose land holds some valuable resource and whose government is either a puppet of a the company that has a monopoly to extract it, or where the company runs the country directly as a corporatocracy.

Some (not all) African and other less developed states used the time of the Economic Collapse to learn and advance to a more (but usually not fully) equal footing with the Europeans. Some of them trade with Europe, which has lead to some of them being taken over when Europe strengthened again.

Many African colonies begin as coastal coaling or trading stations. Russia and the Northern System had colonies in Africa but lost them during the Russian UER regime. Denmark-Norway lost Danish Ghana to the Ashanti Confederacy during this time.

Even if they have never been ruled by Europeans, most African states are, however, influenced by European ideas, many have agreements with foreign governments and businesses, and Christian and Muslim missionaries have - and still do - travel the continent seeking converts. On the other hand the lack of European rule also means that many African cultures are far more active and vibrant than they are in the real world and so are more known and have more influence on glonal culture.


A founding member of the Alexandrian Concord, Abyssinia is a nation in the Horn of Africa ruled from its capital city of Gondar by the very long-standing Solomonic Dynasty. The form of the Abyssinian government is not dissimilar to that of France, with a nominally absolute monarch presiding over an interlocking network of councils and ministries that perform the duties of governance.

Gondar also houses the administrative and legislative functions of the Alexandrian Concord in a purpose-built new suburb to the south of the city itself.

The majority of the population of Abyssinia are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, but there are also substantial minorities of Muslims, Jews and Christians of other denominations in the country.


An East African member of the Alexandrian Concord.

The Ashanti Confederacy

The Ashanti Confederation is a grouping of nine originally autonomous chiefdoms, who founded the Confederation, and a number of subsequently incorporated areas. At the centre of the state is the wealthy and powerful Chiefdom of Kumasi, the capital city, whose hereditary ruler is the Asantehene, the King. The succession to this position is decided by a series of councils of local notables and other royal family members.

The Golden Stool (sika 'gua) is the symbol of Ashanti unity, and is believed to embody the spirit or soul of the Ashanti nation. It is very carefully protected. No-one has ever sat on it and it never touches the ground.

The Asantehene heads the Ashanti Confederacy Council, a group made of paramount chiefs which is renowned for its splendour and wealth. A paramount chief presides over district chiefs. A district chief presides over a District Council of Elders, which is made up of sub-chiefs. Villages are brought together by a sub-chief. Within every village there is a village head council made up of all the heads of households.

Marriage is very important to the Ashanti. Although women cannot marry without the consent of their parents and often do not meet their husbands until they are married, men are free to take more than one wife if they wish. This is often considered to be to express their willingness to be generous and support a large family.

The Ashanti are a matrilineal culture, with families tracing descent through the female line. However, succession and inheritance rules stress sex, generation, and age, with men having precedence over women, 'brothers' over 'sisters' sons', and senior over junior. However, there are also groups which trace their descent through the male line. In any case, children are considered to inherit the spirit of their father, but the flesh and blood of their mother. Men choose the profession of their sons.

The Ashanti state was created and maintained by war, and a military ideology remains a central feature of its cultural orientation. Because of this there are often minor wars and skirmishes with its neighbours.

Most Ashanti settlements are divided into sections along matrilineal lines. The houses of the lineage members are grouped closely together around the house of the lineage head. In many cases, particularly when recently married, husbands and wives live separately based on their mothers' line, though it is not uncommon for married couples to live together in later years. Various other family members often share a household in either case. The head of the household is usually the oldest brother that lives there, and is chosen by the elders of the settlement. He is referred to as either Father or Housefather.

Many elements make up the Ashanti religion. Their supreme being is Nyame. Under him are the higher gods, the ancestors, and the spirits of animals and plants. There is also belief in witchcraft, monsters and fairy-like forest beings. Many rites for marriage, death, puberty, and birth are practised, including rites of divination. The greatest and most frequent religious ceremonies are the Adae, which occur every twenty-one days and whose purpose is to recall the spirits of the departed rulers, offer them food and drink, and ask their favour for the good of all the people. There are also Christian and Muslim minorities among the Ashanti.

Long-distance communication in the Ashanti Confederation was originally carried out by means of drum signals. However, this has mostly been replaced by the use of radiant [radio] or telegraph signals, although in most cases the codes used on these are based on the older drum signals.

Particularly known for their metalwork, the Ashanti were one of the African nations to benefit from the iron bust during the Economic Collapse, developing their own iron and steel industries. The Ashanti military is quite strong, but has only a limited navy concerned mainly with coastal defence, and they are not capable of much projection of force beyond their immediate area.

The Ashanti flag consists of a black field with a thick horizontal red band across the middle, in the centre of which is an image of the Golden Stool.

The flag of the Ashanti Confederacy


A small African-ruled nation in the interior of West Africa bordering on Sierra Leone between Dido-Guruland and Wasulu. It is allied with Wasulu for mutual protection and maintains a delicate balance between France, the Union, the Ashanti Confederacy and the Netherlands to maintain its independence.


An African state bordering Zululand and Cape Colony.


A Portuguese colony on the west coast of southern Africa, now part of the Comunidade Portuguese.

The Union leases naval facilities in Benguela from the Portuguese government.


An independent state inland of the east African coast. It was under French rule, as part of the French domains in Africa, but with the rise of the OSU, although still independent, it now falls within their sphere of influence.

The Central African Federation

A community of a few minor states, banded together for trade and mutual defence.

Cape Colony

The strongest Dutch colony, a largely self-ruling dominion within the Dutch Empire, with its capital in the city of Cape Town. It has been a Dutch dominion since 1800 when the Dutch East India Company was nationalised after violence and protests by Dutch colonists in the cape and elsewhere. With no Napoleonic Wars in this world and thus no takeover by the British, Cape Colony has remained continuously Dutch since its founding. As part of this there was no Voortrek into the interior, which reduced conflict with the native tribes and in particular the Zulu relative to the real world, although Dutch settlers did move further and further into the interior over time even without the Voortrek.

Rich in mineral resources and farmland, Cape Colony also has a high level of industrial capability, the uses of which are all helped by a significant rail network and a number of smaller canal networks. In addition to this, Cape Colony is the site of a number of major ports and military bases. These were founded during the times when the Cape was the gateway to the Dutch orient, Nova Holland [Dutch Australia] and the Nederlands-Indië [Dutch East Indies; real world Indonesia], but have been maintained since then for security in a troubled world. They are also maintained - even given quite friendly relations between the Dutch and Zulus - to help dissuade the Zulus from trying anything.

Although dominated by people of European descent in the early days of its founding, since then, and partly arising from proximity of Zululand, Cape Colony has developed a policy of strict racial equality which has applied there for a long time. As a result of this in the present day there are very few people of purely European descent in Cape Colony.

There is a Cape Colony-Zululand-New Israel defensive alliance known as the Inhambane Pact. None of three nations involved in it are very friendly with one another, but they do respect one another and they like others even less. As part of this pact, Cape Colony and Zululand maintain interconnected railway systems.

The official languages of Cape Colony are Dutch and Afrikaans. However, isiZulu is also widely spoken.


A Swedish colony on the coast of south-west Africa.


The west African nation from which the Voudou religion originated; it remains the most widespread religion there. They are also known for the Dahomey Amazons, highly effective female front-line troops.


A Muslim nation in East Africa which is part of the Alexandrian Concord.


A small Dutch colony on the coast of West African, between Sierra Leone and the Ashanti Confederacy. It is named after the two African peoples who make up the majority of its population.

Dutch Congo

A Dutch colony in Western Africa, a largely self-ruling dominion within the Dutch Empire.


Egypt is part of the Alexandrian Concord, but is also strongly linked to France through the existence of the Suez Canal there. As such there is a strong French military presence in the country.

A founding member of the Alexandrian Concord, Egypt is run by a descendant of the Mamluk government that lead its secession from the Ottoman Empire in 1832.

The general outlawing of slavery in 1898 cut off the supply of imported slaves who made up the ranks of new Mamluks. This caused conflict between a number of Mamluk factions in Egypt, including:

  • Conservatives who wished to maintain the old ways regardless.
  • 'Radicals' who wanted to reform the Mamluk system, introduce inheritance of Mamluk status and when necessary recruit new Mamluk volunteers.
  • Rejoiners who wanted Egypt to re-join the OSU for the good of the country.
  • Reformers who favoured OSU-style politics in an independent Egypt.

The conflict between the different factions led to many problems in Egypt until in 1900 the Reformers staged a coup with wide public support and took control of the country.

Over time the Neo-Mamluk government has rebuilt relations with the OSU, and Egypt has become a valued member of the Alexandrian Concord.

The Mamluks now form a hereditary nobility. They have not been formed from the ranks of slaves since 1900.

Egypt is run by a bicameral system with a governmental structure similar to that of the OSU. The House of the People, elected from among the Egyptian people, forms a lower house. The House of Mamluks, made up on representatives from the different Mamluk families, forms the upper chamber.

There is a strong French military presence within Egypt centred around the French military bases dating back to the end of the Suez War in 1887 which guard the Suez Canal and its Red Sea approaches. Egyptian feeling towards these bases is mixed; some appreciate the protection they bring while other resent them as an intrusion on Egyptian soil. The French military presence is smaller than it once was due to the development of closer and warmer Franco-OSU relations over time.

The flag of Egypt is a horizontal tricolour with three equal stripes of green, yellow and green.

The flag of Egypt


Because of the lack of Napoleonic Wars in this world, the academic discipline of Egyptology [which in the real world began with the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte that led to the publication of the Description de l'Égypte] did not really develop until after the construction of the Alexandria-Suez Railway began in 1823, and accelerated after the formation of the OSU in 1851, when Ottoman scholars gradually began studying Egyptian remains. Even so, it took a long time for the results of this to filter out into the wider world. This process was not helped by Egyptian hieroglyphics not being deciphered until 1908, following the discovery of the Degree of Canopus in 1894 [the Rosetta Stone was never discovered in this world].

French Congo

A French colony on the coast of West Africa.

Île de France [Mauritius]

A small French colony in the Indian Ocean to the east of New Israel [Madagascar]. It has a population of over a million people with a largely agricultural economy. Isle de France is also home to a large French naval base, and a scientific research station.


A Swedish colony on the coast of south-east Africa.

Kanem-Bornu Empire

A large Islamic Kingdom centred on Lake Chad. It has rejected several invitations to join the Alexandrian Concord.


An East African member of the Alexandrian Concord, the majority of whose population are members of the Luhya people. Before joining the Alexandrian Concord it had fought a number of wars with the Maasai Federation. It borders the French colony of Melinda and as such conducts a good deal of Arabian-French trade.

The Maasai Federation

The Maasai Federation is a nation within the Alexandrian Concord formed from the alliance of the various clans of the Maasai people. In the absence of large-scale European colonialism in Africa the Maasai people were able to expand in numbers and increase the area they inhabited across East Africa, often at the expense of their neighbours. However, increasing encroachment from more technologically-advanced neighbours threatened the Federation and they joined the Alexandrian Concord both to protect their way of life and in the hope of ensuring their prosperity as a people. Originally more of a confederation in political terms, over time it has evolved more into a true federation. Outsiders often see them as a nation of heavily armed nomadic cattle herders, but of course there is much more to them than that.

The country is run by the Council of Clans, which meets in the small capital city of Musoma on the shore of Lake Nalubaale [Lake Victoria]. The Council of Clans made up of representatives of the different Maasai Clans that make up the Maasai population of the country, and forms a largely democratic unicameral system of government.

All Maasai are born into a Clan, and this can only be changed by marriage. Each clan is subdivided geographically into a number of Sections; the number of these has increased over time as the Maasai population has grown. Each Section selects the members of a Clan Council; this in turn selects the Clan representatives in the Council of Clans. How representatives are selected varies from Clan to Clan. The large non-Maasai minority in the country is represented by the Maasai Clan of the area where they live, but in many ways non-Maasai are second-class citizens, something that the Alexandrian Concord has had little success in changing.

The Maasai Federation does not have a standing army as such but the entire Maasai population is armed and all Maasai men are effectively soldiers. The Federation does have a medium-sized skyforce, which often serves with other Alexandrian Concord skyforces elsewhere in the Union, and a tiny navy consisting of patrol boats on Lake Nalubaale.

In the past the Maasai Federation and its north-eastern neighbours of Turkan and Luhyaland have fought several wars over the gold resources located in their border regions. These conflicts have ended since both nations joined the Alexandrian Concord, though there is still a fierce rivalry between them.

They license out the mining of their rich gold and diamond fields to companies from elsewhere in the Alexandrian Concord. This provides most of the foreign income of the Maasai Federation. In addition, as a warrior people, many Maasai serve as mercenaries abroad for part of their lives; this is also the source of a significant fraction of the national income. Some income also comes from the licensing of hunting rights in parts of the country.

There are a number of railway lines running from Zanj through the Federation to the states of the Alexandrian Concord that lie further inland. The services on these lines are not as efficient as they might be as the Maasai prioritise the rights of the people to herd cattle around across the railway lines whenever they please above having the trains run on time.

The Maasai have their own arms industry, concentrating mainly on small arms of various kinds. What heavier weapons are required are purchased from elsewhere in the Alexandrian Concord. They do have skycraft factories. building designs licensed from the OSU. Other technology tends to be imported from elsewhere in the Alexandrian Concord.

According to Maasai belief all cattle in the world belong to them. In the past this caused cattle raiding as the Maasai took back 'their' cattle from others. As they are their neighbours are all now members of the Alexandrian Concord this no longer occurs. Instead competitive cattle breeding, leading to a large cattle population in the country, as well as the buying of the best cattle stock from their neighbours and elsewhere in the world has replaced it, with massive annual shows in Musoma and the Maasai second city of Tabora.

The Maasai flag consists of a red field in the centre of which is a golden zebu head between a pair of horizontal black spears. At each end is a vertical column of six white circles, each one representing a Masaai clan.

The flag of the Maasai Federation


A nation mainly formed from tribes driven out of their ancestral lands by the Zulus, and who have had to become as militarised as the Zulu in order to survive, fighting a number of wars with them over the years. They are closely allied with Tswanaland.


A small French colony on the East African coast. It includes the Seychelle Islands.


A Portuguese colony on the east coast of southern Africa, now part of the Comunidade Portuguese.

The Union leases naval facilities in Mozambique from the Portuguese government.

New Israel

Formerly the island of Madagascar, it was established in 1875, after the First Pogrom War nearly destroyed Israel. Despite problems with native unrest the Israeli settlers have come to dominate the island, industrialise it, and create a strong navy. Although it has a strong military for its size, New Israel is not a highly militaristic society, and adheres to the more conservative forms of Judaism.

Since the Second Pogrom War there has been an increasing friendliness between Israel and New Israel, and also increasing emigration from Israel to New Israel, which is perceived to be a safer nation.

Although they are not officially discriminated again, non-Jews often find it difficult to progress in New Israel. As such many of the native population have gradually converted to Judaism.

The capital of New Israel is the city of New Hebron [real world Antananarivo].

The flag of New Israel is a royal blue field with white horizontal stripes at top and bottom and in the centre a golden crescent moon on the left and a golden Star of David on the right, symbolising Madagascar and Judaism respectively.

The flag of New Israel

Portuguese Guinea

A Portuguese colony in West Africa, now part of the Comunidade Portuguese.

Sierra Leone

The state of Sierra Leone forms part of the Union. It was originally founded by Britain in the late eighteenth century as a homeland for free but poor black British people.

Roughly a decade later, a neighbouring but separate penal colony was also founded [in the absence of a British presence in Australia].

Although the two settlements were very different, there were contacts between them, with the free black people providing resources for the penal settlement, and the convicts being used as labour force. After the Economic Collapse, Sierra Leone also became a destination for freed British slaves. This lead to Sierra Leone growing more than other European settlements in equatorial Africa, to become one of the larger states in the region [encompassing real world Sierra Leone, as well as Guinea, Liberia, and small parts of Mali, Ivory Coast and Senegal] with a present day population of some fifty five million people.

As Sierra Leone grew, the rich mineral resources of the region were discovered, including diamonds, gold, alumium [aluminium], iron and other minerals. This led to the growth of Sierra Leonian industry originally fuelled by wood but over time more and more by native hydroelectric power. In part, this growth arose from a desire to exploit the native resources, but also from a desire by Britain, and later the Union, to protect Sierra Leone and its resources from France, with whose colonies of Samori and Senegal Sierra Leone shares a border. National pride was also a factor, given that Sierra Leone was, and remains, the only Union-controlled territory in the whole of Africa.

As it developed, the economic and industrial power of Sierra Leone led to its being made a full member of the Union. By the present day, it is a strong industrial state, an oil producer, and also a significant producer of agricultural products and rubber. Sierra Leone is the site of the main Union space launch facility, and as such possesses a number of space-related industries. Due to the close proximity of French territory, Sierra Leone is also home to a large Union military presence. Because of its coasts and wildlife, Sierra Leone is also a significant tourist destination, mainly within the Union, but also with a significant number of visitors from elsewhere in the world.

Politically, Sierra Leone is a corporate state, in the sense that the government acts as a means of incorporating all of the local industrial concerns, their financiers and their workers, often as represented by powerful trades unions, into the political process for the good of the state as a whole. The vast majority of Sierra Leonians are members of a trade union, even those not in what might normally be considered jobs (for example housewives), and the trade unions are collectively responsible for providing (via their subscriptions, and government funding) welfare state provision for Sierra Leone as a whole.

The capital and largest city of Sierra Leone is Freetown, built around the major natural harbour there. There are other major cities elsewhere in Sierra Leone, many of them having grown up in mining areas.

Culturally, Sierra Leone is diverse, cosmopolitan, and tolerant, particularly in terms of religion and sexuality. Its people are a mixture of those Africans who lived in the region before the arrival of the Europeans, black people whose ancestors were of British origin, white people from the Union and elsewhere, and many people of other ethnic origins. Sierra Leonian dress tends to be among the most flamboyant in the Union.

Sierra Leonian universities are among the best in the Union, particularly the University of Freetown. As such, many students from neighbouring nations come to Sierra Leone to study.

Sierra Leone suffers from problems with organised crime, particularly thieves and smugglers of gold and diamonds. Armed gangs operate out of the jungles in parts of the state, and also across the long border between Sierra Leone and its neighbours, particularly the African-ruled states of Baoulé and Wasulu to the east. In some places there are ongoing conflicts between criminals and law enforcement that at times flare up into what are almost small scale wars. Because of this the Union military sometimes become involved in anti-crime operations, and in many mining areas corporate security forces supplement, or even override, governmental law enforcement. Although disliked by the people due to occasional well-publicised abuses, such corporate security is considered necessary by the Sierra Leonian authorities.

Illegal immigration into Sierra Leone, and by extension the Union as a whole, is also a problem, and there occasional crackdowns on illegal immigrants either in particular areas or state wide. Because Sierra Leone is one of the few places with a long Franco-Union land border there is also significant espionage and smuggling of agents across the border in both directions.

There is an extensive Sierra Leonian rail network, which also links across the border into Portuguese Guinea to the north, and Dutch Dido-Guruland and Baoulé and Wasulu to the east. The branch of the railway into Dido-Guruland extends across that colony and into the Ashanti Confederacy. Although the rail network does not extend into the French territories of Samori and Senegal to the north, there are road links across the border, and a significant amount of cross-border trade.

The flag of Sierra Leone is a blue ensign with a wreath of green leaves, representing the agricultural riches of the state, surrounding a golden cog wheel, representing industry, which in turn surrounds a diamond, representing the mineral wealth of Sierra Leone.

The Flag of Sierra Leone

The Sokoto Caliphate

The Sokoto Caliphate is the major nation of the Fulani people, though there are Fulani minorities in the surrounding nations too.

La Somalie

French colony in East Africa guarding the mouth of the Red Sea and thus access to the (French) Suez Canal. France has several naval bases there. The capital of La Somalie is the coastal city of Bandar Kassim [Bosaso].

The Songhay Empire

An Islamic kingdom in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been rebuilt from a shattered state by the current dynasty of rulers. Strong and quite highly militarised, they maintain their independence against both the French and the Ashanti.


A nation mainly formed from tribes driven out of their ancestral lands by the Zulus, and who have had to become as militarised as the Zulu in order to survive, fighting a number of wars with them over the years. They are closely allied with Matabeleland.


An East African member of the Alexandrian Concord, the majority of whose population are members of the Turkana people. In the past it has fought a number of wars with the Maasai Federation over the gold resources located in their border regions. It is best known for the Alexandrian Concord research station at Koobi Fora which studies the significant early human remains found in that area.


A Muslim sultanate in a strategic position on the trans-Saharan trade routes, it was formerly part of the Kanem-Bornu Empire.


A small African-ruled nation in the interior of West Africa bordering on the Union state of Sierra Leone and French Samori. It is allied with Baoulé for mutual protection and maintains a delicate balance between France, the Union, the Ashanti Confederacy and the Netherlands to maintain its independence. Because of its location bordering both French and Union territories it often functions as a more legitimate 'grey market' route between them for those who wish to avoid smuggling directly between the two. It also acts as a relatively safe, relatively neutral location for negotiations and so on between groups in the two empires.

The White Nile Confederation

A nation to the north west of Lake Nalubaale [Lake Victoria] made up of a loose alliance of a number of different tribes and peoples living in the vicinity of the White Nile river, united together for mutual trade and defence. It is a member of the Alexandrian Concord, and borders a number of non-Alexandrian Concord nations in central Africa. Its capital is the city of Butembo.


A nation on the East African coast centred on and ruled from Zanzibar by the Sultan of Zanzibar. Closely linked to Oman, it is part of the Alexandrian Concord.


A nation of some twenty-nine million people on the south-eastern tip of Africa, Zululand in its modern form was established by King Shaka of the Zulu people in the early nineteenth century.

King Shaka learnt from the Europeans who came to southern Africa, and saw that they were a threat, but also an opportunity. Because he avoided assassination in 1828 and instead had the plotters impaled, he was able to begin the process of modernising, strengthening and industrialising the Zulus into a nation capable of retaining their independence and identity in their own right.

He had blacksmiths go abroad to learn, as a result of which they became the important masters of technology in Zululand. Almost inevitably, these smiths did not just bring back scientific and technological ideas, but also political, social and economic ones. In the long term these had at least as much impact as the science and technology they learned.

Treaties with the Dutch settlers of Cape Colony led to two adjacent nations, one Zulu, one Afrikaner, coming to cover quite the southern tip of Africa.

With help from the Dutch, King Shaka obtained guns for the Zulus, and more importantly for the Smiths the knowledge of how to build them. The political and technological cooperation between the Zulus and the Dutch was aided by the lack of a Voortrek in this world, which reduced conflict with the native tribes and in particular the Zulu relative to the case in the real world.

The Economic Collapse allowed the Zulus to cheaply acquire a significant industrial capacity. Zululand also adopted European crops and farming methods adapted to their climate, allowing a large population to be supported.

From several defeats at the hands of Europeans with guns, King Shaka developed tactics both against them, and to use them effectively. These included ambushes, and tactics such as diving to the ground when the enemy fired, to avoid their bullets, then jumping up and running at the enemy while they reloaded, repeating as necessary to avoid further volleys. He also developed guerrilla tactics, sniping and so on. However, he was never too bothered by some losses, as a tutelary example.

King Shaka became more extreme and unbalanced in his actions as time passed, and he was eventually assassinated in 1841, to be succeeded by one of his closest political advisors. By this time the changes he had initiated were too deeply rooted to be stopped [unlike the case in the real world]. There was slightly more freedom and liberalisation during the reign of his successor, but no end to the modernisation of the Zulu people. Because of this Zululand holds the distinction of being the most rapidly industrialising nation in history. This was assisted by their invention and use of mechanical computing machines to organise their economy, society and military, a field in which they maintain a lead to the present day [as distinct to the field of fluidic computing as embodied by Analytical Fountains].

During the reign of several strong Kings, from Shaka onwards, the dependence of the Zulu on the Smiths brought them greater and greater power. In time, and with the coming of weaker and more easily manipulated monarchs, this lead to their coming to effectively rule the nation. Since then Zululand has become a meritocratic technocracy, ruled by a Council of Smiths, with a figurehead King, and with the military, women, Sangoma (spiritual healers, charged with ascertaining the cause of bad events, protecting the clan against evil spirits and exposing antisocial individuals) and Iyanga (traditional healers) as honorary members of the Council.

Zululand has a powerful military, one that is very powerful given the size of the country. It also has quite a powerful second-rank navy, capable of force projection anywhere in the world. There is also a large Zululand merchant marine, one that is particularly focussed on allowing the transportation of their mercenary troops and the equipment to support them to wherever they are needed, but which also allows easy import and export or trade goods at other times.

Fundamentally in the present day each of the twenty-nine million people of Zululand is either a member of the Zulu military machine, or one of its camp followers. Because of this, to an outsider Zululand might appear to be a stratocracy [a military government where the state and the military are the same thing and government positions are always occupied by military leaders], but this is very much not the case.

The Zulu have been practising eugenics since very early in the development of the practise. This continues to the present day, and includes an element of 'encouraging' those who do not 'fit in' with Zulu society to emigrate elsewhere as a form of post-birth eugenics. As part of this all children born in Zululand are medically assessed at birth and annually up to their sixth year; those who do not pass a series of tests at each point are considered unfit to live and euthanized. The old and crippled are also assessed in a similar manner, and those who fail the assessments are likewise euthanized. Zulu eugenics also includes encouraging those who think they will fit in to immigrate to Zululand. Those that do have a three year probationary period during which they may leave, and after which they can become Zulu citizens.

The Zulu have a long tradition of assimilating others into their culture and society. Originally done by conquest and influence, this assimilation continues to the present day with people (mainly male) from around the world who wish to become Zulus immigrating to Zululand. As such, being Zulu is a state of mind and an attitude, one of bravery, honour, courage and a willingness to fight and die for the state. It is not ethnic or racial. As such there are significant numbers of non-black and mixed race Zulu, all fully integrated citizens of the nation.

Another part of this is that many Zulu are quite xenophobic, in that they feel their way of life is superior to any other, and look down on those who do not voluntarily take it up. In particular they look down on those who live an easy 'soft' life, but especially on those of Zulu birth who choose to leave Zululand for a life elsewhere.

The Council of Smiths

The ruling body of Zululand, the Council of Smiths is made up of all of the working Smiths within Zululand; in total this adds up to some tens of thousands of individuals. It controls the country from the capital city of KwaDukuza [in the real world a town in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa that is also known as Stanger]. The name of the capital means 'Place of the Lost Person' because of the complex labyrinth of huts it possessed when it was founded; these are long since gone and the capital is now a sprawling modern city, with a high level of industry and quite a high level of pollution.

Because of its large number of members the Council of Smiths inevitably includes a number of sub-groups within it. Some of these are the effective rulers of Zululand. Others are professional groupings of practising scientists, engineers, technicians and bureaucrats of various kinds, mostly divided by field of study and/or subject matter; it is entirely possible for an individual to be a member of more than one such group. There is no real distinction between what Europeans might call scientists, technicians, engineers and so on; instead there is spectrum of skills and interests, though they do tend to have a bias towards the more applied and practical than the theoretical sciences. Some of the professional groupings include:

  • Builders. Engineers of all kinds.
  • Lightning Smiths. Those who work with electricity in all of its forms; this includes what in the real world might be called physicists, electrical engineers, electricians and so on.
  • Lifesmiths. Biologists, doctors, eugenicists and genetic scientists.
  • Maintainers. Technicians of all kinds.
  • Number Smiths. Mathematicians.
  • Organisers. Bureaucrats of all kinds.
  • Scientists. Scientists of all kinds.

In additional to professional groupings, there are a number of high level groups with members drawn from across the Smiths who runs different aspects of the functioning of the Zulu state.

  • The Council of Councils. At the highest level of the Smiths is the Council of Councils. Made up of representatives of all of the major sub-groups within the Smiths, it acts as a form of cabinet for the Zululand government. The Speaker of the Council of Councils - currently Nhlakanipho kaLindelani - acts as the public face of the Council of Councils, and is effectively the Zululand head of state.
  • The Council of Foreign Relations. The group within the Smiths who determine Zulu foreign policy and other aspects of the foreign relations of Zululand.
  • The Council of War. As the name implies this council determines the military policy and actions of the Zulu state and acts as the highest level of its command and control structure. In addition to running any conflicts with which Zululand is involved, the Council of War also selects and controls the equipment and vehicles of all kinds used by the Zulu military, how it is to be used, who Zulu mercenaries serve with and similar matters of all kinds. As part of this it directs the activities of the Warrior Ibutho. It also controls all of the military intelligence services.
  • The Council of Industry. The council which determines the direction and type of industry needed and built by the Zulus, including that of agriculture. As such it selects and determines the usage of industrial equipment of all kinds, and directs the activities of the Mining, Industrial and Agricultural Ibutho. As such, although the Council of War has more prestige, the Council of Industry is in fact more powerful within Zululand than it.
  • The Council of Education. That part of the Council of Smiths that runs the Zulu educational system from schools to universities. It sets policy and curricula of all kinds for all young Zulu.
  • The Council of Position Maintenance. The Zulu have a tendency to acquire knowledge and so from all sources they can; this includes a high degree of investment in the Council of Position Maintenance, which is basically tasked with performing industrial espionage around the world. Subordinate to them is the non-military Zulu intelligence service, which is made up of individuals recruited from all parts of Zulu society as required.
  • The Council of Law. The group within the Council of Smiths that determines the laws that apply in Zululand. This group includes a good number of Sangoma, but also many from other areas. The Sangoma in particular work against the antisocial, the negligent and those who would undermine the state. Others define laws involving industry and science. In the modern day these include laws regarding eugenics, ones against unnecessary pollution and destruction of the environment, as well as for the protection of industry and industrial equipment, including railways and so on. There are very few laws regarding the protection of the individual from their own folly, including in the workplace; this is considered part of Zulu eugenics policy. The Council of Law also governs the punishment applied for criminal acts, from impalement of witches and other serious criminals, to beatings of different degrees for those guilty of lesser offences. Laws are enforced and order maintained by those of the Warrior Ibutho on law enforcement duty.
  • The Council of Finance. That part of the Council of Smiths that deals with the internal and external financial affairs of Zululand. As part of this it oversees the Zulu banking system.

Full meetings of all Smiths, at which the overall direction and policy of the Zulu nation are discussed and decided, occur in KwaDukuza at least once per year. Meetings of the various sub-groups within the Smiths occur at different intervals and to differing ends depending on the nature and structure of particular groups.

Needless to say there are a large number of factions within the Council of Smiths. These divide into two broad camps, the Modernists and the Traditionalists, who take views on the future direction of Zululand as their names might imply. Disagreements within the Smiths are common, and this can degenerate into violence between groups and individuals, up to and including rare instances of murder and assassination. In fact it is considered by many that disagreements between the Modernists and Traditionalists was one of the causes of the Zulu Civil War.

Before the Civil War, bureaucratisation of the Smiths was driving their leaders to be those skilled more in politics and paperwork than science and engineering. The majority of these were almost inevitably of the Traditionalist faction. One effect of the victory of the Modernists in the Civil War was the reversal of this trend, so that political and bureaucratic skills are considered to be less important than technical ones in the current Zulu government.

The government of the Council of Smiths is far from perfect. Its large number of members and complex organisation means that it can be unwieldy, and very easily suffer from duplication of effort across a number of its sub-groups. It can also suffer from what in the real world is known as the 'Peter Principle' [that is, the way in which people in an organisation can come to be promoted to the level at which they become incompetent; for example as good scientists and engineers can rise to the point where they become managers or administrators, which is not what they are good at].

Other Councils

Under the Council of Smiths are two subordinate Councils, which provide advice, ideas and intelligence to the Smiths:

  • The Council of Ibutho [Regiments] is made up of representatives appointed from all of the Ibutho. There are four subgroups within the Council of Ibutho. In order of status they are the Warrior, Industrial, Mining and Agricultural Ibutho; although different in status, all Ibutho are still military and recognised as important and necessary. Each one has its own colours and symbols. All of them are military, and have military training, but only the Warriors are actual combat troops. The Miners being separate from any other sub-group of Ibutho is for historical reasons. However, there have been suggestions from time to time that the Mining Ibutho should be merged with the industrial ones; so far they have managed to avoid this. Within the groupings making up the four types of Ibutho there are graduations of status. Among the Warriors this is due to the history and prowess of the Ibutho; among the Industrial Ibutho the more skilled the work the higher the status; among Miners, the more valuable the mined material, the more status the Ibutho has; and among the Agricultural Ibutho over what is farmed, with the value of the product and the fact that animals are considered more important than plants determining Ibutho status.
    Each Ibutho is led by an inDuna, who normally, though not always, is also the representative of the Ibutho on the Council of Ibutho.
    The Warrior Ibutho include the Mercenaries who serve in other nations for pay, military intelligence personnel, and also the Law Enforcers who form the Zululand police; these latter are rotated from combat to law enforcement duties (maintaining order rather than investigating crimes) on a regular schedule. It is relatively common for Warriors to retire into the Industrial, Mining or Agricultural Ibutho, or under exceptional circumstances be inducted into the Council of Smiths. All Warrior Ibutho have names intended to impress or strike fear into their enemies [much as in the real world], as well as characterize their qualities and serve as a source of esprit de corps; an example of such from the real world is uMbonambi [the Evil Omen; names and descriptions of other Ibutho from the real world can be found at EmpressMiniatures.Com]. Note that the Zulu military does not formally have a separate army, navy and sky force as such but the specialisation of modern Ibutho in different areas means that sub-groups of them do effectively perform these functions.
    The Industrial Ibutho also contribute greatly to the Zulu economy via sales of equipment and machinery, and in particular military and railway equipment and machinery, around the world. This latter is particularly assisted by their utter lack of compunction as to who they sell weapons to, with the only limitations they observe being the need for them the maintain reasonably good relations with the more powerful and influential nations in the world, and to avoid having their own weapons turned on themselves. Within these limits they sell everything from guns and ammunition to Cossacks, skycraft and ships. Industrial Ibutho also include those that run things like railways, skylines [airlines] or shipping companies.
    The Mining Ibutho have agreements with many minor Africa nations and a small number elsewhere that allow them to mine the resources they need in return for payments to their governments in either cash or kind. As part of this a number of railways to carry these resources have been constructed, running from the mines either into Zululand or to the nearest convenient port. As with Industrial Ibutho, some Mining Ibutho run railways and shipping companies.
    All Ibutho are formed from boys from across Zululand of the same age when they turn fourteen and graduate from their Ibutho Umfana [boys regiment], in combination with a small number of older men who make up the initial leadership and training and command structures of the Ibutho. Boys are assigned to Warrior, Industrial, Mining or Agricultural Ibutho depending on their talents, from where they are trained until they are capable of pulling their weight. When a new Ibutho is formed, all of its members participate in the killing of a wild bull to demonstrate their courage and transfer the strength of the bull into themselves and through them into the Zulu King.
    Ibutho are disbanded when the last original member dies, and the name of the Ibutho is generally reused; to distinguish between each incarnation of a name, they are also referred to by number, so a given Ibutho might be, for example, the third of a given name. Of course, different names have different histories, and thus are more or less desirable for that reason.
    Zulu men are forbidden to marry before the age of forty, as marriage is considered to make a man softer and more cautious, and thus less useful as a Warrior or other member of society. This prohibition does not apply to women. As such, marriages among the Zulu are normally such that the husband is considerably - often some twenty years or so - older than his wife. When a man marries a woman he pays her father a lobola [bride price]. In the modern day this is normally of a nominal ceremonial amount to abide with tradition, though it is sometimes used to discourage matches considered to be unsuitable by a parent.
    Originally all of the Zulu Ibutho were warriors, and when not at war they also farmed and worked in industry. However, as both weapons and industrial technology became more and more complex this became less and less practical, until the specialisation of the Ibutho into the four groups that exist to the present day inevitably occurred.
    The Ibutho also provide medical care for their members and their dependants, as well as assistance for their widows and orphans where this is required. Because this happens entirely through the Ibutho the level and quality of care varies widely, but all have at least some provision.
    At an organisational level, each Ibutho forms part of an Impi, a formal grouping of Ibutho together into a larger force; these are led by an inDunanke Impi. Impi themselves are organised into the overall Impinke Impi [Impi of Impi's] which forms the Zulu military command structure as a whole. This is led by the Council of War within the Council of Smiths.
    Discipline within the Ibutho tends to be strict and harsh. Cowardice nearly always results in execution; panic in the face of the enemy is normally counted under this heading, which helps encourage Zulu warriors not to panic. Loss of ones weapon is quite likely to result in execution. Serious but not capital offenses involve the permanent marking of the offender, normally via branding or tattooing. this is not something that would prevent the offender from serving the Ibutho, however. Lesser offences result in beatings, normally with an implement of some kind, of a severity and on a part of the body that is considered to be commensurate with the offence being punished. Minor punishments include loss of allowance or other privileges, confinement, or hard or demeaning labour of some kind.
    Zulu warriors of the present day tend to be very skilled in the use of the closest modern equivalent of their traditional spears, the bayonet. Zulu bayonets tend to be long and rather vicious, being descendants of the blade of the iklwa stabbing spear invented by King Shaka in the early days of Zululand.
    • Mercenaries Their mercenaries are the most visible face of Zululand, and certainly the part of the nation that gains the most public attention through their activities outside Zululand.
      Because of their trained-in lack of qualms, Zulu mercenaries can and will serve in any kind of role in any kind of conflict, and in general carry out any task assigned to them, no matter how repugnant it might seem to others. The only roles they will not undertake are those that the Council of War consider will cause too many casualties among their troops, or that will result in Zulu fighting Zulu. In the past attempts have been made to deceive the Zulu into serving on what were effectively suicide missions. Those responsible have normally regretted this decision when the Zulu have discovered this and punished their employers for it.
      Because of their reputation and the fear that it can inspire, Zulu mercenaries often do not have to fight at all when they are hired. Sometimes their name alone is sufficient to cow an opponent. At other times they only have to perform one or two shows of force before their work is done. On the other hand, sometimes they do have to fight, at which point they give it their all. At times employers berate them for their harshness, brutality and lack of concern for such things as collateral damage, but no Zulu has ever been prosecuted for such things in Zululand. In addition to this, the reputation of the Zulus is hardly unknown, and all mercenary contracts they undertake explain in full the consequences should they have to fight in any case.
      Of course, depending on the contract, Zulu mercenaries may be hired to perform such things as bombing raids - for which they have the skycraft and personnel - patrols of disputed regions or facility security duties. All such contracts may include clauses limiting Zulu combat activities, but in all cases, regardless, Zulus will defend themselves with all available force if they think it necessary.

  • The Council of Women, which as the name suggests consists of representatives appointed from the female population of Zululand. In practise this includes the inDuna of the Ibutho Intombi [girls regiments], and also the (much smaller number of) religious Diviners [who mediate between the living and the ancestral spirits], bureaucrats, doctors, businesswomen and similar non-military occupations, that are mainly made up of women. As for members of the male Ibutho, particularly meritorious women can also rise into the Council of Smiths.
    Because Diviners, by allowing appeals to the spirit world via the ancestral spirits, play an important part in the daily lives of the Zulu they have a great deal of power and influence. They have long been in charge of Zulu religious affairs, despite attempts by the Sangoma to change this. Because of their involvement in determining the causes of untoward events, many Diviners effectively act as detectives, lawyers and judges for the Zulu.

Other Organisations

In addition to this there are three other subordinate groups who support and are linked to the Council of Smiths.

  • The Zulu Royal Family. In theory the rulers of the nation, in reality the Zulu King and the other Zulu royalty are figureheads under the control of the Smiths. As in the days before the Smiths took power, succession to the Zulu throne is still by assassination and violence, but because of their figurehead status, the succession no longer involves an effective civil war. It is always a matter of great interest to the entire Zulu nation, however. There are rumours that the next succession struggle may be televised for the benefit of the Zulu nation as a whole.
    The current King of Zululand is Dingane IV kaBhekuzulu.
  • The Sangoma; originally these were spiritual healers, charged with ascertaining the cause of untoward events, protecting the clan against evil spirits and exposing antisocial individuals including the negligent and those who would work against the order of the state as a whole. Because they investigate untoward events and peoples behaviour, determine (in cooperation with the Diviners) whether they are caused by witchcraft, and if so have the Office for the Destruction of Witchcraft investigate to find who was responsible the Sangoma have a great deal of power and influence in Zulu society and politics. Many of them effectively act as detectives, lawyers and judges for the Zulu.
    Many Sangoma consider the Zulu religious affairs should fall under their purview. However the mainly female Diviners have so far managed to outmanoeuvre the Sangoma and so continue to retain their pre-eminence in this field.
    As with the other non-Smith groups in Zululand, particularly meritorious Sangoma can rise into the Council of Smiths.
    • The Office for the Destruction of Witchcraft is a group within the Sangoma. It grew, as the name suggests, out of the function of the Sangoma to track down and destroy witches wherever they may be found. As such Sangoma within the Office for the Destruction of Witchcraft have particularly great influence among the Zulu. Over time they have also taken over the role of exposing antisocial individuals, and as such have developed into a secret police and internal security apparatus of the Zulu state as they work to pre-emptively detect and stop witches and other enemies of the state. As such, although nominally subordinate to the Sangoma, they also have their own chain of command directly to the Council of Smiths.

  • The Inyanga. These are healers of physical maladies using traditional methods, making them what are effectively naturopaths. As such their function in society has been largely superseded by those using European-type medicine, who are in general women. Despite this and the reduction in their numbers it has caused, they retain status within Zulu society and their opinions hold weight. Where Sangoma are concerned with the psychic world, the Inyanga treats physical disease, but may use similar methods to provide such things as remedies for an unsatisfactory love life and for protection against lightning. Each Inyanga trains his son and their knowledge is thus passed on from generation to generation. Both plant and animal parts are used in the remedies and more traditionally-minded Zulu people will travel long distances to see an Inyanga.

Gender Roles

All Zulu - both male and female - are given a high degree of physical training at school. This is very militarised, including training with melee and ranged weapons, and is usually taught by (normally retired) Warriors. Boys and girls are educated separately, the girls in Isikolo Intombi [girls schools] and the boys in Ibutho Umfana [boys regiments]. An important part of the training of young Zulu, and particularly of boys, is the removal of what outsiders might call moral qualms from them, something that is done carefully to keep their fear of the law and of punishment so they do not turn against society as a whole, but which makes them much more effective warriors. The Zulu education system - and its militaristic underpinnings - is quite effective in rendering its students less easily fazed than the civilians of other nations. Of course, some children are mentally broken in the process, but the Zululand government considers this to be a useful side effect that eliminates the weak.

As part of this all Zulu boys are taught Izinduku Namawisa [Zulu stick fighting; see here for more information]. This has a number of different styles, but all of them are considered to give those who learn it the opportunity to build courage and skill, to distinguish themselves as proficient warriors, and to earn respect in the community. Other martial arts, both armed and unarmed, and from both Zululand and around the world are also taught. Girls are not taught Izinduku Namawisa as part of the school curriculum, but in the modern day many learn it from their male siblings. Girls are instead normally taught other unarmed martial arts, and in particular ones that use 'soft' techniques to use the force of an attacker against them; these are derogatorily known as Ukulwa Intombi [girls fighting].

All male Zulu are rigorously tested as they grow up. The results of this tend to determine their path as adults when they turn fourteen and graduate from their Ibutho Umfana. That is, whether they go into the Smiths, one of the Ibutho, or the Sangoma. Precisely which part of the Smiths or Sangoma, or which new Ibutho they enter, is often down to their father, or even their own choice, but social and political factors can also influence where a boy is placed. The Zulu royalty count as a third group, but is so small that entering it is not a possibility for most Zulus. All Zulu men are either Smiths, Royalty, Sangoma, Inyanga, or members of an Ibutho. There are no exceptions.

The lives of Zulu women are not so highly regimented as those of Zulu men, but they are still quite highly constrained by the patriarchal nature of Zulu society (though this is much less so in the modern day than in the past). Zulu women are educated, and tested as they grow much as boys are. They receive combat training comparable to that of men, although with a different focus.

At the age of fourteen talented young women are selected to be doctors, bureaucrats, or Diviners who allow people to appeal to the spirit world via the spirits of a supplicants ancestors. However, when the majority of young women leave the Isikolo Intombi they join an Ibutho Intombi [girls regiment]. These are organised on an age basis as for the Ibutho, and the Ibutho Intombi serve alongside the male Ibutho in a support role. It is here that many women learn a high level of financial, administrative and organisational skills that stand them in good stead in later life. Women do not serve in the Ibutho Intombi for as long as men in the Ibutho, as it is considered important for them to marry and have children while they are still of childbearing age. Despite the close proximity of men and women in the Ibutho Intombi and Ibutho, fraternisation and particularly sexual relations between them are very strongly discouraged.

Over the years women of the Ibutho Intombi who support Warrior Ibutho have inevitably become involved in combat themselves from time to time, and some of them have performed at least as well as the male Ibutho in this. Because of this, in recent decades a very few women have come to make up two entirely female Warrior Ibutho, against the protests of Zulu traditionalists.

A strong woman can rise as high as a man in Zulu society, though generally via different routes, and some women lead Impi or administer regions of the Zulu nation. Particularly capable women are inducted into the Smiths as other exceptional non-Smiths are. Of course, many women do not rise high, taking on more traditional and expected roles, but of course the same could be said of many men...

The Military

To ensure that their military remain in trim, the Zulu military trains and exercises constantly. To enable this, large areas of the less productive parts of Zululand are set aside for military training. This includes everything from full scale war games to individual and small unit combat training and survival exercises. As part of this predators and other dangerous wildlife is encouraged in these areas. Some of these Battle Reserves (as they are known) are also home to the more secret Zulu military bases. In addition to this, some Zulu training exercises involve war with their neighbours.

To channel the militarism of their society, the Council of Smiths do a number of things. First, they export Zulu mercenary troops, to fight, and to train others, around the world. They are very good. The only thing they will not do is fight other Zulus. Zulu warriors first worked as mercenaries with the Dutch in the Dutch East Indies and played a particular role in the taking of the Dutch holdings in Japan. Secondly, there are near-constant skirmishes with Zululand's non-Boer neighbours along all of their borders, something that has been happening for generations.

Because of these skirmishes the African-ruled neighbours of Zululand have to defend all of their borders heavily. Many of these nations, such as Tswanaland and Matabeleland, have been forced to adopt militaristic societies very much like that of the Zulus simply to survive.

The Zulus have also sent out a number of expeditions of conquest in the past, which have resulted in there being several small Zulu colonies in Africa and on mid-ocean islands elsewhere. They also purchased a settlement on the western coast of Terra Australis, and have claimed and settled the island of Kerguelen as well as a large part of Antarctica as the colony of Shakaland. Many resources are directed at the conquest of the Antarctic. This is the Zulu New Frontier.

In addition, the Zulu individually, and the Ibutho and other groups collectively, compete against one another in sporting contests of many kinds. They also compete against the environment, in exercises in hostile environments of all kinds, from desert to jungle to the glaciers of Shakaland. This last is helps the Zulu develop their Antarctic colonies.

Normal dress for Zululand troops (including mercenaries) varies with climate, but in general is as little protection from the elements as possible, to toughen them. In hot environments (such as Zululand itself) their uniform consists of shorts, with no shoes, a belt and bandoliers for equipment, and a helmet. Armbands are used to hold insignia of position and rank. If camouflage is required a suitably patterned suit of light breathable mesh is used, onto which loose strips of cloth or twine can be added for extra camouflage effect, forming a lightweight Ghillie suit. In colder climates trousers, jackets and camouflage more like those used by the European militaries are used for much the same reasons as them.

The Economy

There is economic competition of a kind within Zululand. Different Ibutho and groups of Smiths in the same field - with comparable tasks or specialisations - compete against one another to do the best, be most productive, have the best ideas and so on, as to be the best results in rewards and recognition for being so; that is, in status for the winning group and its members. The reverse applies for the most poorly performing groups, who suffer collective losses of status. This applies in the Warrior and other Ibutho, as well as between Smiths. In many places there are 'league tables' showing where all of the competing groups of a given type stand in relation to one another.

This competition helps to drive growth and development of the Zulu economy and means that their government, science and industry remain reasonably efficient despite the strong central government control of so many aspects of their society. This stops their economy from sinking into the doldrums of heavy handed central planning.

The Zulu state as a whole does have money, due to its need for economic interactions with the other nations of the world. Most of this circulates within and between the different parts of the Zulu government, funding its operations as required, with only a small amount filtering out into the non-government and non-military economy (which is, in any case, very small in comparison). As a side effect of this, and of how much of the payment of male Zulu is 'in kind', for example in food, living quarters and equipment, levels of personal taxation are very low in Zululand.

Banking in Zululand grew up as Zululand began to industrialise. There was a need to be able to finance investments, for example, the manufacture or purchase of large industrial machinery, or of ships and so on. This need forced Ibutho to pool their resources, the richer ones investing in (providing credit to) smaller ones in return for shares in their profits. Initially a set of local arrangements set up on an ad hoc basis, over time this has grown into a national banking network, with a number of 'industrial' Ibutho being the banks of Zululand. There is no national Zululand bank, though the idea has been discussed, and rejected.

Zululand does have an economy outside the military. However, it is quite small and peripheral to the military economy and tends to consist of small things, luxury items, and things not considered to be important by the state. These are largely non-military items, and so this peripheral economy is largely made up of the financial transactions of women, but also to a lesser extent (as their numbers are much smaller) of Sangoma and Inyanga. Because of this it is mainly conducted, owned and run by women, many of them using the skills learned in the Ibutho Intombi [girls regiments] to good effect in civilian life.

Thus women perform most of the small-scale internal financial transactions in Zululand, and tend to be much more financially savvy than men. Men are paid money for serving in Ibutho, the Smiths and so on, but in most cases these groups provide their members with living quarters, food and so on as part of their conditions of service so that they are paid more of an allowance for luxuries (a form of 'pocket money') rather than a true salary as such, with higher status individuals getting a higher allowance. When men retire this changes somewhat as they have more money to spend on living via a pension, but they still mostly live on allowances rather than what an outsider might consider a full salary as such. Often their wife runs their finances.


In no way is Zululand a free nation. It is, however, one with a very strong rule of law.

The Zulu legal system is based on a very different set of premises to that of (for example) European systems. In particular, the Zulus believe that all bad things, including death, are the result of evil sorcery or offended spirits. No misfortune is ever seen as being the result of natural causes. In fact, the very idea of 'natural causes' is something derived from non-Zulus.

The Zulu people do not believe in fate but instead consider that every event occurs for a reason. Thus should something untoward occur, the Sangoma and Diviners are consulted to determine its cause, and in particular whether the event has been caused by witchcraft or by a failure to appease the spirits. Thus the Sangoma and Diviners act as detectives of sorts, investigating crimes to discover their cause. Note that witchcraft is considered to derive from the same skills as those practised to positive ends by the Sangoma and Diviners, but used to a negative or evil end.

If an event is determined to have been caused by witchcraft, then the witch must be exposed and suffer an agonising death for the good of the community and the Zulu state as a whole. As such the Sangoma and Diviners also act as lawyers and judges.

If an event is determined to have been caused by witchcraft the Sangoma take over entirely and lead a witch hunt that seeks out the person responsible. Once the witch (which can be of either gender) is found they are executed. Impaling is the most common means of execution in this case. Those accused of being witches often do not object as it is thought that their spirit can be taken over without their knowledge.

In some cases not only the witch but also their families are put to death, with their belongings passing to the state. Excessive wealth can therefore sometimes result in a person being high on the 'hit list' for the next exposure of witches, so that poverty can help to ensure a longer life. In the past, the putting of whole families to death was much more common than it is in the present day. For example, many of King Shaka's opponents, or even those he thought were his opponents, suffered from this, particularly during his later life.

Social changes have meant that one person being responsible for one untoward event and so having to die for it has become an increasingly impractical system, having resulted in mass witch hunts and unrest in the Zulu state. For this reason it became the generally accepted opinion that one witch can be responsible for many untoward events, rather than one witch per event. And that their families can be innocent of the sins of the witch. On the other hand untoward events affecting important people or great numbers of people, such as train or skycraft crashes, are usually found to have been the only target of a witch, and the family of the witch is often responsible too. It is quite common, even so, for a witch who has been executed for one thing to also be responsible for others and also die for them.

Also, as the population of Zululand has grown, more and more untoward events have been found to be caused by a failure to appease the spirits. There being more Zulus means there are also more spirits, more than there have ever been. and so it is easier to fail to appease them, leading to their causing trouble for the living.

If it is determined that an event is due to the anger of the spirits then a Diviner is consulted to determine the details of the failure to appease the spirits. Once this is done, a sacrifice is made whilst complaining at the apparent attitude of the spirit. Obviously as the fraction of untoward events being caused by a failure to appease the spirits has grown over time, the role and importance of the Diviners has grown.

Some Zulu legal thinkers consider that the premises under which their law operates imply that all good events are therefore the result of happy spirits. Which are the result of some intended action. And so those responsible should be rewarded as those responsible for evil actions are punished. This remains very much a minority legal opinion, however.

Trivial crimes and misdemeanours are generally not brought to the attention of the Sangoma. Instead, Zulu society encourages that they be dealt with by those who know the offender, either by discussion or (more normally) by violence. This keeps the Zulu tough and self-reliant, although permanently injuring or killing an offender is very much frowned upon and is considered a serious crime for which the Sangoma must become involved.

A side effect of this encouragement to take the law into ones own hands is that Zululand suffers from high levels of domestic violence, and a moderately high murder rate. A majority of domestic violence is against women, though because Zulu women are also combat trained, violence against men also occurs, and in many cases attackers come off the worse. Domestic violence is punished by the Sangoma when considered to be 'excessive', though the criteria for this are variable to say the least...

In recent years there have been a number of rumours, all of which have not been dignified with a response by the Zulu government, that one or more groups of Zulu mercenaries returning from duties in Central America have either discovered or reinvented Aztec-type blood sacrifices, and were practising them on innocent victims kidnapped for the purpose before being stopped by the Sangoma and the perpetrators executed. Whether true or not, these rumours have not diminished the fear in which the Zulu are held in some circles...

Zulus are human, and as such there is a range of opinion within their society, and this can lead to dissent. This is not in any sense encouraged by the Council of Smiths, and in the past was normally dealt with by vigilante justice on a local level, by dissenters leaving Zululand, or as a last resort by the intervention of the Council for the Suppression of Witchcraft. Since the end of the Zulu Civil War, which was the result of tensions between different groups within Zulu society that had long gone unaddressed, mechanisms by which dissenting opinions and ideas for change can be dealt with and listened to - if not necessarily acted upon - have been introduced. As such Zululand has gained the concept and mechanisms of a loyal opposition.


The Zulu religion - referred to as Inkoloqinisile [the True Religion] - still follows most of its old ways from before the arrival of the Europeans. It includes belief in a creator god, Nkulunkulu, who is above interacting in day-to-day human affairs. It is only possible to appeal to the spirit world by invoking the spirits of ones ancestors, the AmaDlozi, through divination; the ancestral spirits act as intermediaries in this process. Not all deceased individuals become an iDlozi [individual ancestral spirit]; only those who have behaved in a sufficiently worthy way in life and so have a high degree of isithunzi [moral standing] are considered to live on in the spirit world of unkulunkulu while other spirits fade into nothingness.

Because of the need for intercession with the AmaDlozi the Diviner, who is almost always a woman, plays an important part in the daily lives of the Zulu. It is believed that all ancestors must be kept in the memory of the family as, if forgotten, they may seek to be remembered by visiting trouble on them. As part of this, when a Zulu dies, their property is generally burned to prevent unwanted spirits from remaining in the home of the deceased. In the modern age, where it is not practical or desirable to destroy their property, the Diviners and Sangoma normally provide advice on how the spirits may be placated to allow the continued use of the deceased's property.

Although obviously not an ancestor of all Zulus, King Shaka I the Great is revered as a national ancestor spirit, father of the nation, something that is encouraged by the Council of Smiths. Other major figures from the history of Zululand are also revered to a similar but lesser extent as national spirits, but none come close to having the reverence shown for Shaka.

In their everyday lives, Zululanders often appeal to their AmaDlozi for help and support. Depending on the task at hand they may appeal for help to certain specific iDlozi who are the most appropriate to it, perhaps because they possessed relevant skills in life.

There has been some adoption of Christian and other religious elements into the Zulu faith, often including the merging of them with traditional Zulu figures such as uKqili, the highest god. This has occurred because to the Zulu, syncretising others beliefs into the Zulu religion is sometimes acceptable. After its Christian influences, the largest external influence in Inkoloqinisile is that of Hinduism, and in particular those parts of it relating to Shiva and Kali in their more destructive aspects. Christianity and other religions themselves have had difficulty gaining a foothold among the Zulu, mainly because their ethos is normally at odds with that of the Zulu. This has caused a number of religious conflicts within the Zulu over the incorporation of elements of other religions into their faith.

Because it is much more visible to non-Zulu than in the real world, their religion has spread beyond Zululand so that by the present day people around the world follow it, particularly in places where Zulus have settled or been. There have also been converts to the Zulu religion from other faiths of all kinds. The reverse, however, where a Zulu converts to a non-Zulu religion is not considered at all acceptable, and makes the person who does so an apostate. In Zulu eyes it also makes them no longer a Zulu.

The symbol of InkoloqinisileThe symbol of Inkoloqinisile is a square divided into four triangles by diagonal lines. Where the lines cross is a black circle, and outside of this but within the square is a larger circle. Together the symbol represents the belief that Nkulunkulu is the axis of the universe, extending from the centre of the world to its four corners, encompassing everything under the sky. As such it is known as zomhlaba [the world]. More devout followers of Inkoloqinisile often wear a version of the symbol as an item of jewellery, as a Christian might wear a crucifix.

One of the more visible aspects of the Zulu religion is its emphasis on cleanliness. Before eating, hands are washed and separate utensils and plates are used for different foods. After eating mouths are rinsed. Zulus often bathe up to three times a day.

One important religious function carried out by Sangoma and Inyanga in combination is to conduct the ritual for the cleansing and strengthening of Warriors before battle. This involves the use of intelezi [sprinkling charms] prepared by the Inyanga and used by the Sangoma. Although in the modern day not considered to be essential, or even entirely necessary, these rituals continue out of tradition, and because some do believe in them.

Another important religious occasion among the Zulu is the Ukweshwama, the annual ceremony to celebrate the harvest during which the traditional slaying of a bull occurs.

Other Things

There is no Zulu welfare system as such. In some cases Ibutho or the Council of Smiths will support an individual or family, but for everyone else one either works, or emigrates, or dies.

In the past the Zulu diet was largely vegetarian, but this has changed with the technological and economic development of Zululand so that modern Zulu cuisine tends to be very heavy on meat, especially among the Ibutho. However, it is also reasonably healthy, with dietary parameters set by the Council of Smiths according to medical principles. To a non-Zulu many meals might be considered very spicy. This is partly simply how their cuisine has evolved, by also to a large extent because the ability to eat (and enjoy) highly spiced food is considered to be a good thing for a Zulu warrior to be able to do.

In terms of ingredients, Zulu food uses a wide range of traditional elements including beef, mutton and goats meat, milk and yoghurt, sorghum (including utshwala [fermented sorghum beer]), phutu [cornmeal porridge] and other dishes using millet, maize and beans along with vegetables such as amadumbe [yams], pumpkins, beets, African melons, purslane, amaranthus and thistles. Slow-simmered cows head is a high-status delicacy, traditionally cooked and eaten by men. In additional to traditional foods, the Zulu diet also includes a wide range of European and other crops which makes it highly varied.

Zulu settlements are divided into Umuzi [homesteads], made up of a number of homes within an area. These are often all inhabited by members of an extended family, though this is somewhat less common in the present day than it used to be.

Significant parts of Zululand are completely closed to non-Zulu, even outside of the Battle Reserves. Even Zulu citizens require government permission to travel to certain parts of the country (though not all of it). Zulu government representatives claim this is for their safety, but there is obviously more to it than this [this is analogous to how large areas of the former Soviet Union were closed to outsiders in the real world].

Zululand is very industrialised, and in some parts is highly polluted because of this. In general it has a slightly lower level of technology than the highest in the world, but all their technology is very robust and well built.

Because of this Zulu weapons and weapon systems tend to be simple and utilitarian in nature. They are not as sophisticated as the best in the world - though they are definitely in the second rank in most cases - but they are solid, reliable, robust and reasonably cheap, simply because they are not at the cutting edge of technology. They make a large number of them which are sold on around the world to anyone but nations known to be their enemies.

Until 1931 the major ports of Zululand were Mhlatuzetheku [Richards Bay] and Umgenitheku [Durban]. However, since the completion of the prestige project KwaDukuza Ship Canal in that year, constructed by making the last several miles of the Hlimbitwa River that runs through the city navigable, the official main port of Zululand is that of the capital city of KwaDukuza. All three ports have major cargo handling facilities and road and rail links to the rest of Zululand, though these are better developed at Mhlatuzetheku and Umgenitheku. They also have large Zulu naval facilities, the largest of which is at KwaDukuza.

Because of the regimented nature of Zulu society, private vehicles are only available to those that are considered to need them, for example high ranking Smiths. Others must use public transport, which is made up of an very extensive network of trams and trains running across Zululand and generally also linking to the rail networks of its neighbours. In addition to their passenger uses this network also moves military personnel and equipment, and goods of all kinds, so that the road network of Zululand could be considered quite underdeveloped.

Zululand does have artists and art, but the vast majority of artists are amateurs from all parts of Zulu society. A few become professional artists after they retire from Ibutho and few of the most exceptional of these are raised to the Smiths. However, the vast majority of Zulu art is in keeping with the harsh and militaristic society of Zululand, which is not kind to those of a sensitive and artistic bent. Because of this most young Zulu with a passion for art have little option but to leave the country to pursue their art elsewhere.

There are Zulu radiant [radio] and TV stations. These broadcast many of the sports and competitions undertaken by Zulu, in addition to (for example) performances of the dances that form a significant part of Zulu culture for both men and women. In Zululand itself where they are viewed communicably by homesteads and Ibutho. In addition they are also exported to other parts of world where they are popular in some circles; in this role they also act as a form of propaganda for the Zulus.

The Zulu language is written in Latin script, as this is the script used by the Europeans with whom the Zulu came in contact, and which Zulus learned. It uses accents and other such marks to allow the notation of the tone of words [as Zulu is a tonal language, where how a word is said can change its meaning]; this is different to the case in the real world, where written Zulu does not include this information.

Most Zulu names are not made up of an individual name followed by a family name as is the case in much of Europe. Instead, they are formed from an individual name followed by the name of their father prefixed with 'ka'. This naming system is by no means mandatory, though deviating from it does make a family stand out somewhat. In particular immigrant and their descendants often continue to use their original family names or the naming system of their homeland. [A list of Zulu individual names and their meanings can be found here.]

The basic unit of currency of Zululand was originally head of cattle. However, this has numerous practical problems, especially in a modern nation with a relatively high population and many people living in cities. As such the modern unit of currency is the iGulden, also known as the Zulu Guilder, so named because it is derived from the Guilder [or Gulden] used by the Dutch, the Europeans with whom the Zulus first traded. The iGulden is sub-divided into twenty iStuiver, each of which is in turn divided into sixteen iPenningen.

The Zululand flag is a traditional Zulu cowhide shield with spears, on a dark red background with blood-red vertical borders.

The Zululand Flag

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