Ukweshwama ritual under way

2009-12-05 14:49

Nongoma - The controversial ukweshwama ritual that includes the killing of a bull with bare hands began around midday on Saturday at the Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zulu warriors were seen wearing traditional outfits singing and dancing and holding knobkerries in the air as they waited for the ritual to begin.

There were scenes of joy following the court ruling on Friday which allowed the Zulu nation to go ahead with the ukweshwama ritual.

Animal Rights Africa took Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini and the premier of KwaZulu Natal, Zweli Mkhize to court to stop the killing of a bull in the ritual arguing that it was cruelty to animals.

Young men were expected to kill a bull with bare hands as the ceremony reaches its pick.

Journalists from various media houses came in their numbers to cover the controversial ritual.

High profile politicians, which included Mkhize were expected to attend the event.

Mkhize arrived a short while ago dressed in a complete Zulu attire, which is made up of a cow skin apron, a shield, knobkerry and ubukopolo, an animal skin head crown decorated with bird feathers.

All women at the ritual were wearing skirts, including journalists.

This was after the Department of Arts and Culture ordered that all journalists covering the event to not wear pants.

Ndela Ntshangase, a lecturer of isiZulu studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal, said the judgment given by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on ukweshwama was a victory for all African countries.

"This is a victory for all African people. The controversy was directed to all Zulus, but who knows next time it could be a Xhosa or a Pedi because our cultures are more or less the same," he said.