Confused? Let us make it simple. Traditionally, when young Zulu people start dating, parents would encourage them to tell elders about it.

This made it easier for the parents to know what was going on in their child's life and increased the trust between them.

Listed below are the stages of notifying the family, which is what parents say happened between Thandi Biyela and Njabulo Zondi.

  • Boy and girl start dating.

  • The boy goes to tell his father that he now has a girlfriend.

  • The girl asks her sisters to make ucu (a white-beaded necklace) for her boyfriend.

  • The sisters then take the ucu to the boy.

  • The boy then takes the ucu to his father, which is the confirmation that they are indeed dating.

  • His father sends people to fetch the girl and she stays with her boyfriend's family for a week. On arrival she hoists a white cloth that will stay up for a week, which is a signal to the community that she is dating someone in that family.

  • While she hoists the cloth, her boyfriend's father, accompanied by his entourage, goes to inform the girl's family that she is officially dating their son and not to worry if she is not at home, because she will be with them.

    It is a process that takes months to complete and it does not mean they are now forced to get married.