HALALA
16/01/2018 16:36 SAST | Updated 16/01/2018 16:36 SAST

Zulu Love Letters Get A Beautiful LGBTQI+ Update

The future of the ancient technique is getting an inclusive facelift – and we're here for it.

Zebulon Chuenyane

The future of ancient African crafts is looking bright, judging by website Between 10 and 5's recent post about a young graphic designer's awesome project to update the ancient language encoded in Zulu love letters into something more inclusive.

"As much as the Zulu love letters are a way to communicate love, they do not always reflect and represent the society in which we live; as most of the shapes, colour and meaning attached to the letters refer to love between a man and a woman," artist Zebulon Chuenyane told the site of his work.

"Love should not be restricted to just that. So this is not your typical Zulu love letter; these illustrations try to give a more accurate reflection of love in a modern society."

The series, titled Ngi Yak'Verstana, embraces the iconic elements of the letters –– small beadwork patches that were traditionally shared between sweethearts in Zulu culture.

Zebulon Chuenyane
Zebulon Chuenyane
Zebulon Chuenyane
Zebulon Chuenyane

Zebulon even updates the use of standard isiZulu, using Tsotsitaal instead –– a modern language that emerged on the mines, composed of Afrikaans and Zulu.

"'Ngi yak' verstana' is a Tsotsitaal phrase, which in this context means 'I love you'. It is a combination of two languages, isiZulu and Afrikaans. This phrase is not limited to love –– it also means 'I understand you'."

Follow Zebulon on social media for more.