Organisers of the bare-fisted fights craze in Venda are unfazed that the bloody contests pose a danger of spreading HIV-Aids

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Benson Ntlemo

Benson Ntlemo

School teacher Tshilidzi Ndevana, known as "Poison", who is organising bloody bare fist fights in Venda, is unfazed about safety fears that fighters could risk being infected with HIV-Aids.

Ndevana, a father of five children, who has been a bare knuckles fighter since the age of five, is now promoting the sport which is a rave in Gaba, Venda.

He said he was taking into account that the "bloody ring" may lead to the contracting of diseases like HIV-Aids.

"We take the necessary precautions. We stop the fights as soon as someone starts bleeding." He said they have had some advice.

"We have been taught to operate under conditions which are health friendly and we are doing just that," Ndevana said.

However, bloody fights witnessed so far had not been stopped.

Sowetan is aware of blood even splattering spectators, including children.

The bare knuckle fights, also known as Musangwe, malaita fights or swibakela among locals, have been popular among the Venda and the Machangana/Vatsonga people from the early 1800s.

They have produced champions such as the late Poison Mbhikiza, Concrete Munukwa, Chillies Ndou and the late Dickson Mahlaule, popularly known as "Seawater".

The fights this week were characterised by lack of discipline from the spectators and fighters alike. Ndevana was at pains to explain the problems.

Spectators are not behaving as orderly as before. During fights some even mix with the fighters, disrupting the fights.

Ndevana has appealed to the government to help build stands or mini-stadiums so that the crowd could be controlled.

Tomorrow is a big day as Pfarelo Mahadulula is returning from Johannesburg to meet any challenger for his crown.

So far some have shown interest in taking him on and fans are bracing themselves for a fight to remember.