Judge delays on decision over bull ritual

ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini and millions of his subjects will know on Friday morning whether the Ukweshwama ceremony - which includes the slaughtering of a bull - will go ahead on Saturday as planned.

ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini and millions of his subjects will know on Friday morning whether the Ukweshwama ceremony - which includes the slaughtering of a bull - will go ahead on Saturday as planned.

The judgment on the application - brought by Animal Rights Africa - was reserved until Friday morning by the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday.

The rights group took the Zulu king, KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize and three government departments to court, arguing that the manner in which the bull would be killed (by participants strangling it with their bare hands) was cruel.

Earlier yesterday, Judge Nic van der Reyden proposed that all the affected parties sit down and consider the use of a video during the ritual - to establish whether the method was cruel or not.

The proposal was turned down by the respondents.

The judge said it was difficult for him to rule on the matter, saying that the bull-killing ritual went to the heart of Zulu tradition.

The judge said he was not trying to dodge making a ruling but it would be preferable for Parliament to deal with the matter if evidence was found that the bull was killed in a cruel manner.

A bull is killed during Ukweshwama as a symbolic way of thanking God for the first crops of the season.

The judge likened the stopping of the bull sacrifice to ordering Catholics to stop holding Holy Communion (in which the congregation eat wafers of bread representing Jesus Christ). - Sapa

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