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It's time we humanised our customs

By unknown | Oct 08, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

ALTHOUGH I'm a black South African, I was outraged by the story in a weekly paper about the annual bare-hand killing of a bull at the First Fruits Festival in KwaZulu-Natal.

At this Zulu cultural event, which is supposed to celebrate the coming-of-age of Zulu warriors, men and boys as young as 14 "choke the bull by pushing sand or mud down its throat, gouge out the eyes to 'down' the animal, twist the genitals until the animal succumbs before it is beaten to death". Is this cultural necessity or cruelty against animals?

Why does humanity continue to believe we are the most important creation? Mother Nature is giving us global warming in return for this thinking.

Mahatma Gandhi said: "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals."

As much as our Constitution guarantees the right to practise one's beliefs, it equally guarantees animal rights - and the line between the two is a thin one.

Though such rituals should not be undermined, we need to rethink the cruel practices that constitute some of our customs. We need to live and let live.

Would the significance of our rituals diminish were we to adapt the processes involved?

Similarly, should we continue to cheer on the annual Musangwe bare-fist fights at which Venda men leave each other bleeding, unconscious and deformed?

Are we not promoting a culture of potential wife-beaters?

Let's see what the Pan-African animal welfare conference does about a petition lodged against this ritual.

Let us humanise our customs before our Constitution is forced to dictate that we do.

Eddie Gaffane, Midrand


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