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Lao Tzu or Lao Zulu?

The interesting link between a Chinese philosopher and an African tribe


Welcome to my Way of the Zulu series where I share my most rewarding and valuable experiences as an Englishman living in an ancient African culture.

Five hundred years before the Christ story gripped the western world, a Chinese philosopher called Lau Tzu wrote what has since become a literary masterpiece on the practice of life in less than five thousand words. It's called the Tao Te Ching or The Way and its characteristics and in it, Lau Tzu says that he cannot give it a name but only describe how it behaves and its now pretty clear that over two and a half thousand years later and with the benefit of modern science, we can say that he was describing the nature of the way or the way of nature, as in its enduring and unchanging laws and processes. He also talks of the need to return to the way of the ancients, which takes us even further back into our human ancestry and as I discovered, all the way back into southern Africa where it all began and where, unbeknown to the rest of the world, it is still practiced today among the Bantu tribes and most expressively by one tribe in particular.

Over a three-year period at the end of the nineteen nineties, I travelled extensively through Namibia, Botswana and South Africa on self-guided safari tours and engaged with many of these Bantu tribespeople whose welcoming friendliness was practiced universally. Then on the advice of a safari guide that I met and got drunk with in Namibia, I visited a remote tribal village called Mbazwana in Zululand, South Africa where I encountered the Zulu people and stepped into a different world.



The environment around the village was a paradise of nature with f