Animal activists can’t see the bull for the dust

2009-12-12 00:00

THESE animal activists, what a fuss they make about matters beyond their ken. Filled with neocolonial, white racist presumptuousness.

They arise from scoffing Steers burgers (herds of cattle, eyes rolling at the stench of imminent slaughter, slashing and trampling in frantic but futile attempt at escape) and Kentucky Fried Chicken (a shoebox existence of ripped claws and clipped beaks, then hooked, hanged and mechanically beheaded) to berate that old imperialist whipping boy, the Zulu.

These wrist-flapping, sodden-handkerchiefed whiteys fail to understand that the survival of the Zulu kingdom apparently depends on an annual ritualistic shot in the arm. If this requires the protracted killing of a bull by any means possible — strangulation, ripping, tearing, biting, gouging and suffocation with sand stuffed down the animal’s oesophagus — then so be it.

Ernest Hemingway would surely have loved it. A virile young bull wrestled into oblivion by virile young men.

Some canny marketing and the hand-to-hoof combat at the king’s kraal would soon relegate to strictly for sissies, the Pamplona running with the bulls.

The real hombres — small dicks admittedly, but big hearts — would flock to Zululand, brimming with machismo. Death in the Afternoon, indeed.

As King Goodwill Zwelithini has sagely noted, we need more reverence for ancient ritual. He is to encourage more circumcision with a rusty assegai blade and virginity testing with a stubby forefinger, but there are many other Zulu customs that could be embraced.

Think back to the great Zulu king, Shaka. As Zuluphile historian Donald Morris records in The Washing of the Spears, it was not only young bulls who suffered a sand choking: “Defective children and all but one child of a multiple birth were suffocated at once by an earthen clod stuffed into the mouth.”

The Moaning Minnies will object, but big savings on the welfare budget.

Then there was the useful ritual of witchdoctors sniffing out evil spirits.

When a wizard was identified, the witchdoctors “flicked him with a gnu’s tail, whereupon he was dragged off to have sharpened stakes pounded up his rectum, while an impi was ­dispatched to exterminate his family root and branch, destroy his crops and burn his kraal”.

And Thabo Mbeki thought that the Polokwane putsch was harsh.

The darkies shouldn’t be allowed to have it all to themselves.

A European civilisation that gave the world pâté de foie gras, seal clubbing and founded a faith on the beheading of the king’s tiresome mistresses, need not stand back.

The Bible is a particularly rich repository of Judeo-Christian ritual, especially regarding female subservience.

Deuteronomy explains that to take a wife requires no more than to find an attractive prisoner of war, take her home, shave her head, trim her nails and give her new clothes.

That’s it.

She’s yours for the price of a haircut, manicure and little black number. And to seal the liaison with a bit of cross-cultural fusion, á la Julius Malema, some breakfast and taxi money the morning after.

Also according to Deuteronomy, alternatively one could just wait for your brother to die and take his widow.

In Ruth, on the other hand, there is a scheme on how to buy some land and get a woman thrown in, a useful sweetener in these times of flagging property sales.

But when it came to high political office it was Shaka who set the pace, with a Receiver of the Royal Spittle and a Wiper of the Royal Anus.

Perhaps in our rich new culture, even if cheated of his controversial elevation to the post of National Director of Public Prosecutions, there would be work yet for Menzi Simelane.

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