Royal ritual for widows

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, will conduct a traditional cleansing ritual to more than 1500 widows whose husbands were killed in taxi-related violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

The ceremony will take place at his Nyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, today.

The Zulu King believes the ceremony was necessary to help appeal to the ancestors to curb the taxi killings.

Neli Makhanya of the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance, who is also a widow, said they were invited by his majesty because he is concerned about the continuing taxi violence, especially in his area, Nongoma.

"The king invited all widows because he felt there was a need for a proper traditional ritual to cleanse the widows. He believes the ritual would bring an end to the taxi violence.

"As black people we know it is important to conduct a cleansing ritual when a person was killed with a weapon," she said.

Makhanya said she hoped the ritual would bring everlasting peace and discourage the widows' children from revenging their fathers' death.

"This will also make our husbands finally rest in peace."

Makhanya said they were expecting more than 1500 widows to attend the ceremony.

"I can say that taxi violence has claimed a lot of lives. This has caused a lot of women to be widows," she said.

"The problem with violence is that it makes women vulnerable and that opens them to exploitation and abuse by men."