'Coconut' DA leader behaves like born-again Christian - opposition

By Drum Digital
30 July 2015

The combined cost for both the conference and the municipality's dance is more than R3m.

Durban – A DA councillor was called a "coconut" and accused of "behaving like a born-again Christian" on Tuesday when he questioned the multi-million rand budget set aside for a women's month cultural event.

Several councillors on eThekwini’s executive council hit out at DA caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango when he objected to the cost of the municipality's upcoming Maiden's Conference and Reed Dance event. The municipality's event is separate to the annual Reed Dance at the KwaNongoma eNyokeni Royal Residence.

The events are touted as a build up to the official Reed Dance and aimed at familiarising the maidens with what will be expected at the official event in September.

The city announced on Tuesday that it sought the committee’s approval for the event to be held in August and September 2015.

Debating the conference, Mncwango said: "These women’s month events are a waste of money. The crisis right now is unemployment. If you want to grow the economy, we need to support small business and empower women.

"If you want to empower women, empower them with jobs. I understand issues of culture, but I am saying take this money and invest it in women. You will find that most of these women we are talking about are unemployed."

But Mncwango's comments were dismissed with calls that he was "a coconut", who had "forgotten his cultural values".

Councillor Bongiwe Mtshali from the NFP told Mncwango: "You are too white, a coconut. We need to preserve culture and our heritage because that is how our nation will grow. These women prepare our children for the Reed Dance, they need transport and everything else. They should be supported."

Cultural values forgotten

ANC Councillor Zandile Gumede agreed, saying that Mncwango had forgotten his cultural values.

Gumede said: "Remember that you are from KwaNongoma. Your comments do not reflect those of a person who hails from rural Nongoma where culture is respected."

Gumede went on to say that Mncwango was acting "like a born again Christian".

Mncwango laughed off the comments.

According to a report presented before council, the events will be a partnership between the eThekwini municipality community participation department and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture.

The dance, which is also known as Umkhosi woMhlanga, was reintroduced by King Goodwill Zwelithini to encourage young girls to delay sexual activity until marriage. It is also aimed at reducing HIV/Aids transmission, said the report.

The event intends to educate, promote, facilitate and raise awareness on moral regeneration and management of social ills, particularly among young women.

The conference is expected to take place from August 7 until August 9 at eGcekeni Primary School in Shongweni Dam.

The total estimated cost is R3 162 000.

Source: News24

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