Zuma leads slaughtering of ox

2012-01-07 09:13

This morning President Jacob Zuma led the slaughtering of an ox as part of the ANC’s traditional thanksgiving ceremony ahead of the party’s 100th birthday celebrations in Bloemfontein this weekend.

The ceremony, which took place at the site of the restored Wesleyan church where the ANC was formed in 1912, was characterised by the sound of the traditional cowhide drum and dancing.

Incense was burned to summon the spirits before the beast was slaughtered at a makeshift kraal.

Basotho King Letsie (III) donated the ox to the ANC in recognition of his grandfather’s support for the formation of the ANC, said party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni handed Zuma the spear he symbolically used to prod the animal before it was slaughtered.

Zuma said the ceremony was meant to remember the ancestors and gods the traditional way, saying the king’s gesture was a sign that the people of the region had a shared heritage.

The ANC president was also expected to receive numerous heads of cattle from the AbaThembu of the Eastern Cape, whose king had also donated 115 head of cattle to the party 100 years ago.

Zuma was accompanied by traditional leaders and healers who participated in the traditional slaughter and the night vigil that preceded it. Other guests included veteran American civil rights and anti-apartheid activist Jesse Jackson.

Jackson expressed pride in how South Africa had turned out after 18 years of democracy.

“South Africa is the best it has ever been. It was built for the minority and the ANC has built an inclusive economy with the same resources. It has held three successive orderly elections without any rebellion. This is a lesson to the rest of Africa,” he said.

Zuma is expected to deliver his annual January 8 address at the local stadium tomorrow afternoon in a ceremony that will be attended by about 60 000 people, including heads of states and other international dignitaries.

Former president Thabo Mbeki is expected to attend the event.

It will be the first time he has attended an ANC event since he was axed from power in 2008.

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