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By Mhlaba Memela | Dec 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

KING Goodwill Zwelithini has called on the Zulu nation to stand by each other to inculcate the culture of unity and not to allow anyone to undermine their practices.

Zwelithini was addressing the Zulu nation gathering at the eNyokeni Royal Palace during the annual Umkhosi Wokweshwama ceremony at the weekend. He said it was despicable for people to suggest that Zulus had no respect for animal rights.

He was responding to the challenge by Animal Rights Africa, which took him and the provincial government to the Pietermaritzburg high court over the ritual killing of a bull.

On Friday the court ruled against Animal Rights Africa, allowing the Zulu nation to continue with the ritual.

During the thanksgiving ritual youngsters killed a bull with their bare hands. More than 30 half-naked young men rounded up the bull after it was pointed out by the king from the many breeds in his kraal.

Zwelithini, President Jacob Zuma, Premier Zweli Mkhize and other dignitaries watched the young men keenly while senior warriors continued to sing hymns of praise.

The regiments, named Izinyosi, later wrestled the bull to the ground and broke its neck.

It died in less than 20 minutes after the king instructed senior warriors to assist the young men.

Photographers were not allowed to take pictures of the ceremony. Cellphones were also barred.

Zwelithini said he was hurt by people who talked about matters they knew nothing about.

"They claim we abuse animals when we practice our culture," he said. "How can we abuse animals? We love and appreciate them.

"We even give them names, and this shows how much we love them."

He was adamant that the ritual would not be spoilt by people who claimed to know Zulu culture.

"Our forefathers used this festival to rally troops to dedicate their lives to the good of the nation. A nation without customs and beliefs is likely to be lost forever," he said.

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