Confiscated shield: DJ claims R10 mln damages

2011-08-25 00:00

ONE could be forgiven for thinking the Durban Magistrate’s Court was hosting an imbizo or Zulu heritage celebration yesterday. Ukhozi DJ Ngizwe Mchunu appeared in full Zulu traditional regalia, followed by supporters and legal representatives in similar garb.

Mchunu (30) has filed a R10 million lawsuit for damages against the SA Revenue Service, the Agriculture Department and King Shaka International Airport after customs officials at the airport allegedly accosted him for carrying a traditional shield in his luggage.

Attorney Mbuyiselo July and associate Philani Mkhize, who represent Mchunu, sported leopard skin head bands (iqheles) as they sat among other legal representatives in the packed Equality Court. All parties agreed for an adjournment to October 17 so that CCTV footage of the incident can be viewed and all documents presented this month.

The large claim comes after Mchunu, who hosts a cultural programme on the radio station, returned from a trip to Dubai in May.

“Officials informed him that the shield was ‘rubbish’ and was going to be thrown away because it could be contaminated with ‘foot-and-mouth disease’,” said Mkhize.

The shield, which is strongly associated with Zulu custom, was confiscated apparently after it was thrown on to the floor and sniffer dogs set upon it. Mchunu was being hosted by Dubai’s tourism department as an ambassador for Zulu culture. Mkhize said his client dressed in full Zulu attire during his visit there.

Speaking before the court proceeding, Mchunu said he plans to teach the three parties a lesson and to open the floodgates for discrimination to be challenged.

“I have travelled to 30 countries as an ambassador of our proud Zulu tradition and culture, and to be stopped at our home, and an airport named after our greatest leader, is disgusting,” Mkhize said.

Mchunu said it is important to defend and uphold one’s identity and culture since it is the soul of a nation.

Outside the court a stage and loudspeakers were set up and a live band entertained the growing crowd before Mchunu ran out brandishing a knob-kerrie and spear to the delight of his supporters.

Mchunu acknowledged their presence before resuming his exhibition of warrior skills.

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