The controversial ukweshwana (first fruit) ceremony, which ends with the bare-handed killing of a bull by young Zulu men, will take place in Nongoma this weekend, but animal rights activists have vowed to continue their campaign against cruelty to animals.
As young Zulu men poured into eNyonkeni Royal Palace in Nongoma on Wednesday for the ceremony, Steven Smit, of Animal Rights SA, said: “The fact is, this is not about culture. Cruelty is cruelty no matter where it happens… We will continue all legal means to fight against it.”
Two years ago, Animal Rights SA unsuccessfully sought an order in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have the ceremony stopped.
“This time round we are not taking an urgent action as it will make no difference at this stage,” said Smit.
“It is clear that the state is not going to act against this Zulu tradition.”
This year, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, said communities should not hesitate to continue with the slaughtering of animals as part of their rituals, but should keep animal suffering to a minimum.
A spokesman for the Zulu royal house, Prince Mboneni Zulu, defended the tradition, saying it was a “sacred” ceremony for Zulus at which the nation prayed for a good year and for the strength of the king.