Bailey comes out over Veronica Hen murder

By Time of article published Aug 18, 2003

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Brett Bailey, author of the play iMumbo Jumbo, has has at last spoken about the slaughtering of a chicken on stage at Cape Town's Baxter Theatre.

He said he didn't regret allowing the show's resident hen, Veronica, to get the chop in front of an unsuspecting and unprepared audience.

Bailey, in a letter printed on Monday in the Cape Times, defended the "ritual slaughter" that provoked wide-ranging debate in the media.

He says that "in the 1997 versions of iMumbo Jumbo we faked the sacrifice of the chickens".

"I did not want this faking in the latest version; I wanted the ceremony to be culturally accurate," he said.

"Our resident hen, Veronica, was brought on stage every night, blessed by the sangomas who performed the ceremony, then returned to her crate.

"Yet, where all other ceremonial details were strictly adhered to, this felt phoney.

"So, while I am sorry that the event offended some people, I do not regret that it was performed."

- To read the full text of Bailey's letter, click here.

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