As much as I respect ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe’s beliefs, I cannot agree with his criticism of the ANC for communing with the spirits of |their ancestors at the party’s centenary celebrations.
He said invoking the spirits of dead leaders could have “devastating consequences for the country”.
Personally, the leaders who are still alive worry me far more than the ones who have already joined the ancestors. If anything is going to have devastating consequences, it is the actions of living beings now in charge of the |government.
Admittedly some of the ancestors weren’t too marvellous, either. James Moroka was such a bad ANC president that they kicked him out after only three years. And more recent ancestors, such as Joe Modise of the arms deal scandal and Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the ministerial Aids denialist, weren’t much better, bless their souls.
But any help the ancestors can give the existing mob must be welcomed.
It isn’t only blacks who commune with their ancestors. Whites do, as well. My family certainly did. They used to haul out the ouija board, darken the room, and enquire “is anybody there?”
Eventually Granpa Scott and other ancestors announced that they were, and reassured my parents that everything was going well in heaven. Grem Rawson, wife of one of my dad’s oldest friends Bill Rawson (uncle of the property developer of the same name), was psychic and would convey more practical messages, such as admonitions to Bill to lay off the booze.
At least nobody had to slaughter anything before the seances began.
What I cannot understand is how the ANC knew the ancestors required the slaughter of a bull before they acceded to the party’s requests, and if the ancestors did indeed require it, what good did it do them, other than to be joined in the Hereafter by the aforesaid bull?
Admittedly President Jacob Zuma announced afterwards that the bull had been slaughtered “in the most dignified way”. I hope the bull appreciated how dignified it all was. When last seen alive he was in a state of undignified indignation. This was before the media were moved out of camera range, to prevent the dignified butchery from being witnessed.
Zuma also said he had stabbed the bull “symbolically” before young men did the job properly. Probably the symbolism was lost on the bull.
There was more symbolism when the AbaThembu tribe donated 35 cattle to the festivities, explaining that this was symbolic of King Delindyebo’s donation 100 years ago of 115 cattle, which were then all slaughtered and eaten. To top it all, the main dish at the centenary banquet was oxtail bredie.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said one or two of the 35 donated cattle might be slaughtered, too, presumably also in a dignified way.
If I were any of the remaining 33, I wouldn’t be too hopeful of being left to die of old age.
It is curious that Gauteng police commissioner Mzwandile Petros’s personal sangoma, Captain Nomathemba Gwebile, didn’t have to slaughter anything for the ancestors to tell her that some of the other generals and brigadiers were plotting to kill him.
Petros immediately cancelled a planned day-long meeting. Ancestors certainly have their uses, even if the Reverend Meshoe doesn’t believe in them.