Ritual: ANC objects to court action

2009-12-04 00:00

THE ANC has criticised Animal Rights Africa (ARA) for taking the bull killing matter to court and bypassing the structures which it says should have dealt with the matter.

In a statement released on Wednesday night, Dr Mathole Motshekga, chairman for the ANC Commission on Religious and Cultural Affairs, said “the first fruit harvest celebrations form part of the pillars of African culture and religion and are common to the indigenous people of South African as a whole”.

“Ukweshwama is a centuries-old culture practised among the Zulu people, in which warriors kill a beast to mark the first fruits before the crops are harvested.”

He said the apartheid system sought to relegate the cultural and traditional practices of the majority South Africans to “humiliating levels of lowliness”.

“For centuries Black people, Africans in particular, were dictated to about how to conduct their cultures. A foreign way of living was imposed upon them.

“The enactment of progressive legislation since 1994 has sought to cleanse our society of the centuries-old legacy of apartheid and colonialism and ensured that any remaining practice that belonged to the old order does not creep back into the current dispensation in any form or shape.”

He said the commission is concerned at the “approach … taken by those opposed to some of the cultural and traditional practices [of] our people”.

Motshekga said matter of culture and practices are “sacrosanct and sensitive” and need to be dealt with carefully.

He said the government has established a number of constitutional platforms, such as the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, through which diverse cultural practices can be discussed.

“These platforms … are aimed at promoting dialogue and ensuring that people are placed at the centre of the decision-making process on issues that directly affect them,” he added.

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