Zulu king, Zuma to attend cleansing ceremony

2010-10-29 00:00

ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini and President Jacob Zuma are going to be part of a two-day traditional cleansing ceremony organised for the community of KwaMafunze in Pietermaritzburg. The event is scheduled for Eshowe Stadium in Taylors Halt on November 6-7, 2010.

The ceremony will afford locals an opportunity to try and heal the wounds of the violent past as a result of faction fights and political violence that claimed the lives of many people in the area from the 1970s up until the 1990s.

The event, initiated by KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize, amakhosi and members of Umbimbi Cultural Organisation, will see amabutho (regiments) undergo a traditional cleansing ceremony, which includes rituals performed by traditional healers and well-respected leaders of different church denominations, including elders from the Nazareth Church.

According to Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, the ceremony was organised because during the violence era many young people were involved in the killings and this cleansing will help them.

“As government we respect different cultures and we believe that if we observe our cultures properly, we would be able to deal with the challenges that we are facing.

“Amabutho are already part of government programmes aimed at fighting HIV and Aids and eradicating crime in our society,” Sibiya said.

To wrap up the activities, on day two (Sunday), President Zuma, King Zwelithini and Mkhize will deliver speeches on the significance of the event.

The event is expected to draw a crowd of more than 20 000 people.

Explaining what the ceremony entails, Inkosi Sondelani Zondi of KwaMafunze said: “Amabutho will be bathed with holy water as a sign that they are being cleansed from the blood spilt among them from the 1970s faction fights to the 1990s political violence.

“Arms would be put on the ground and fighting sticks, knobkerries and spears would be broken as a sign that the people will never take up arms against one another again.

“While all that is being done, words are uttered to that effect.

“The ceremony is concluded by an act of ukukhumelana umlotha [chewing of ash] to cement the reconciliation process where warring factions publicly declare that they have forgiven each other.”

Zondi said this ceremony is conducted to psychologically help end the urge to kill in those who participated in the violence.

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