Zulu Chief, South Africa


This 1895 photo of a Zulu chief in native dress standing in front of a thatched hut is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855-1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. The Zulu are southern Africa’s largest ethnic group. Zululand, where this photograph was taken, was absorbed into the British colony of Natal following the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Some researchers have questioned the authenticity of photos from the region during this period, arguing that many of them appear to be posed or manipulated. The “Zulu chief” in this photo, for example, is offering a distinctly Western military salute.

Last updated: October 30, 2014