Fist fighters stand their ground on move

BARE KNUCKLES: Traditional fist fighters say they would welcome research on the dangers of contracting HIV and other illnesses that can spread during the contests.  Cicra 2008. Pic. Chester Makana.  © Sowetan.
BARE KNUCKLES: Traditional fist fighters say they would welcome research on the dangers of contracting HIV and other illnesses that can spread during the contests. Cicra 2008. Pic. Chester Makana. © Sowetan.

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

Organisers of the yearly musangwe, a traditional fist fight game in Thohoyandou, have rejected a proposal by the government to stage the event at a football stadium.

Musangwe coordinator Tshilidzi "Poison" Ndevane yesterday told Sowetan they were not going to move from Tshaulu to the stadium.

"We approached the government to seek assistance with medical personnel to avoid excessive bleeding during the fights instead they told us to go to the stadium," said Ndevane.

"The fights were started in the 1920s by our forefathers, so we don't want to upset them, their teeth were lost here, we can't relocate."

He said they rejected the proposed move to the stadium in order to preserve their heritage, "and it should be respected the way it is".

Preliminary fights started yesterday at Tshaulu, outside Thohoyandou.

The sport attracts thousands of fans from all over the country and international media.

The sport was started by cattle herders to while away time.

Ndevane said this year's fights would involve six white people.

But critics are concerned that the fighters were exposed to HIV- Aids risk as there are no prior medical tests.

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