Old Zulu Earplugs – Iziqhaza – South Africa


Mid 20th century. Wood, vinyl, metal studs. Diameter cm. 5,5 (2.17″), spessore cm. 1,7 (0,67″). Grams 87,7 (3.09″).

The earplugs identified the wearer as being Zulu.

Ear piercing was an important ceremony, the Qhumbuza, performed on every Zulu child before puberty. It was performed using a large safety pin by an elderly woman. The hole in the earlobe had to be stretched considerably over a period of time to accommodate these large earplugs. Enlargement was carried out by inserting increasingly larger discs.

The opening of the ear meant for the child the ability to hear and therefore to understand.

Their use dates back to the 12th century AD, according to ceramic evidence found in the Kwazulu-Natal region.


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Additional information

Weight150 g