anc steps into zulu bull ring
The ANC has entered the bull-killing debate with its commission on religious and traditional affairs calling on animal rights activists to allow the nation to debate the matter before taking it to the courts.
The Pietermaritzburg high court has rejected an application by Animal Rights Africa opposing the bare-handed slaughter of a bull during Umkhosi Wokweshwama.
Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini will lead the nation in the ceremony in Nongoma in northern Zululand tomorrow.
ARA spokesperson Michele Pickover said: "It physically pains us and is an affront to our dignity that an animal is made to suffer in such an overtly cruel and protracted way.
Animal Rights Africa claims the bull is tortured during the ceremony.
"According to an eyewitness description of the killing, for 40 minutes dozens trample the bellowing, groaning bull, wrench its head around the horns to try to break its neck, pull its tongue out, stuff sand in its mouth and even try to tie its penis in a knot."
The ANC said it was "gravely concerned at the approach and the tone taken by those opposed to some of the cultural and traditional practices of our people".
It called on animal activists to take the matter to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, and to Parliament.
"Since 1994 the government has established constitutional platforms through which diverse cultural practices can be discussed to achieve common ground and tolerance.
"These platforms, which include Parliament, are aimed at promoting dialogue and ensuring that people are placed at the centre of the decision-making process on issues that directly affect them."
The chairperson of the ANC commission, Mathole Motshekga, said the decision to take the matter to court was premature.
"The tendency to bypass these platforms and instead resort to legal means to resolve complex and sensitive matters such as the cultural practice of Ukweshwama might amount to interference in the affairs of another culture."
Motshekga also warned that the attack on cultural practices could create animosity among citizens.