Warriors dance ahead of ritual

2009-12-05 17:25

Nongoma - About 100 Zulu warriors entered the kraal where a bull will be killed at the ukweshwama ritual at Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma on Saturday.

The warriors sang and danced inside the kraal carrying shields and spears led by an elder.

KwaZulu Natal premier Zweli Mkhize together with Zwelithini were also dancing and singing inside the kraal.

Mkhize arrived 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. The controversial ritual that includes the killing of a bull with bare hands began around midday on Saturday.

The Zulu warriors earlier arrived for the ceremony also in traditional outfits singing and dancing while 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 Zwelithini and 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 peak.

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.

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.