Ukweshwama ritual challenged

2009-11-22 22:05

Johannesburg - Animal Rights Africa (ARA) is going to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday in a bid to stop the "cruel" Ukweshwama ritual of killing a bull with bare hands, the organisation said on Sunday.

Spokesperson Michele Pickover said the rights group had already instructed environmental lawyer Tina Costas to act on its behalf in applying for an order to halt the ritual, which is to be presided over by King Goodwill Zwelithini on December 5.

"The Ukweshwama ritual does nothing to strengthen nation building, social cohesion or peace. During this cruel ritual a group of men torture and kill a bull with their bare hands," Pickover said.

Pickover quoted unidentified eyewitnesses as describing the killing as 40 minutes during which "dozens trampled a bellowing, groaning bull, wrenched its head around by the horns to try to break its neck".

They also "pulled its tongue out, stuffed sand in its mouth and even tried to tie its penis in a knot".

Raise arms in triumph

Gleaming with sweat, the dozens further raised their arms in triumph and sang when the bull finally succumbed, the witness said, according to Pickover.

"It physically pains us and is an affront to our dignity that an animal is made to suffer in such an overtly cruel and protracted way," she said.

The respondents in the matter are Zwelithini, the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs and the minister of police, the KwaZulu-Natal premier and the province's MEC for local government, housing and traditional affairs.