Bull ritual: 10?000 ‘warriors’ to attend

2010-12-16 00:00

AN estimated 10 000 circumcised males from all districts in KwaZulu-Natal will attend the annual Umkhosi woselwa (first fruit) ceremony at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, northern KZN, this weekend.

The event will mark 20 years since the ceremony was revived by King Goodwill Zwelithini, after his request to introduce male medical circumcision in the province.

The festival, the highlight of which is the killing of a bull with bare hands by Zulu warriors, will be monitored by advocate Sipho Cishe of the Public Protector’s Office. This comes after efforts by animal rights activists to halt the bull-killing at the King’s palace were abandoned, for this year at least.

The festival was marred by controversy last year after animal rights activists protested that the killing is cruel. They applied to the high court in Pietermaritzburg to halt the festival.

However, the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to determine whether the ritual was cruel.

This year’s festival is going ahead and the bull is expec­ted to be killed on Saturday.

The first phase started on November 20 to 25 with a cultural tour to amakhosi areas of KwaSokhulu, Obuka and Kwayanguye to perform rituals and to retrace the footsteps of forefathers who participated in the ritual ever since the tradition was introduced by the Zulu nation.

The second phase began yesterday and continues until Sunday, with the main ceremonial rituals taking place on Friday and Saturday.

The men participating will be taught life skills and King Zwelithini will address them on cultural and social issues.

It will also feature educational programmes targeting young people and organised by government departments and the South African National Defence Force.

Prince Mbonisi Zulu said the presence of the circumcised men at the Umkhosi woselwa represents not only a success of the initiative, but the respect the Zulu nation has for its king.

“The king did not do any research on the procedure, but simply made a necessary request to the nation and the government to bring back the circumcision custom, and the people responded very positively.”

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