Ceremony pants ban is ‘not discrimination’ — Zulu prince

2009-12-04 00:00

WOMEN journalists have been instructed not to wear trousers and women and the media in general will be barred from the proceedings of umkhosi wokweshwama (First Fruits ceremony) which includes the killing of a bull with bare hands, at the Zulu Royal household this weekend.

The ceremony forms the basis for a high court action due to be decided today, after Animal Rights Africa challenged the ceremony.

In an invitation issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture yesterday, some of the conditions of the ceremony are that the media will be excluded from some parts of the ceremony.

Jabu Baloyi of the Commission of Gender Equality (CGE) said the instruction infringes on women journalists’ right to freedom of choice.

“We are perplexed at the utterances. People should be allowed to chose what they want to wear. We understand that this is a cultural event, but times have changed and cultures are evolving.”

Baloyi said the CGE will approach the Zulu royal household in an attempt to broker an agreement that will be acceptable. “We don’t want to infringe on the right to practise culture, but we will engage with the Zulu royal household and try to find common ground.”

Prince Mbusi Zulu of the royal household said the conditions are part of logistics arrangement for the ceremony. “We are not against women wearing pants, but it’s a sign of respect for a sacred ceremony that happens once a year. In every event there is a dress code so this is not a discrimination … all women are requested not to wear pants”. More on the debate: page 5

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