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This years Ukweshwama ritual has not received the frenzied attention last year%u2019s ceremony did.
In 2009 local and international animal rights groups appealed to Parliament and President Jacob Zuma to halt the bare handed killing ritual of a bull, taking the Zulu onarch to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to halt the proceedings and an outcry from society in general about cultural interference and cruelty.
Speaking to The Citizen, King Goodwill Zwelithini%u2019s brother and spokesman, Prince Mbonisi Zulu said everything is planned.
%u201CThe ritual will go ahead. According to my knowledge, this year%u2019s ceremony hasn%u2019t received the same hostilities as those seen last year,%u201D said Prince Zulu.
Last year, Animal Rights Africa (ARA) approached the Pietermaritzburg High Court to end the ritual. The ARA cited King Goodwill Zwelithini as a respondent as well as the National Minister of Police, among others.
Spokesman at the time, Michele Pickover said %u201Cit physically pains us and is an affront to our dignity that an animal is made to suffer in such an overtly and protracted way%u201D.
Despite excitement, an initial postponement meant the court was %u201Cgiving serious consideration to the cruelty aspects of the killing%u201D, but the court ruled the ritual would commence. During the proceedings the banning of the ritual was likened by Judge Nic van der Reyden as ordering Catholics to stop taking Holy Communion.
He added the ritual needed to be looked at in context.
%u201CThis has been done for years. It is done by the Zulus who constitute the biggest population in this country. There are about 10 million Zulus in this country,%u201D said Van der Reyden.
On December 5, 2009 scores of spectators flocked to the Royal household to view the ritual.
This year the monarch is hoping for a similar turnout.
%u201CWe hope to have as many spectators this year,%u201D said Prince Zulu.
ARA spokesman Alan Rolstone said: the organisation would, for the time being, not be taking any further action.
%u201CARA will not be taking any further action until there is compelling and irrefutable evidence and testimony to support such action.%u201D
Rolstone said the ARA was facing %u201Ca hostile justice system and the huge costs associated therewith%u201D.
The controversial Ukweshwama ritual is conducted during the annual First Fruits Festival which takes place during the first week of December at Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal. According to tradition, subjects were not permitted to partake of their first yield prior to offering them to the King. The killing ritual symbolises the coming of age of young warriors who partake. The youths participate in a bid to prove themselves worthy and as a test of courage.
Prince Zulu said Ukweshwama %u201Cforms part of the bigger picture%u201D, explaining the ritual was also nation building. %u2013 email@example.com
Unleashed Action:Stop Bull Being Killed with Bare Hands
I would like to express my deep regret about learning of an extreme case of animal cruelty planned to be conducted during the First Fruits Festival of Ukweshwama, which takes place in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.
Public awareness of this savage ritual involving the killing of a bull by men with their bare hands is quickly spreading worldwide. Networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook, and media sites are exposing this practice and needless to say an ensuing back lash against this savagery is also growing. I am certain there are many Ngunis also outraged by the allowance of such regressive practice.
Contrary to what many believe, animals are thinking, sentient, intelligent creatures and suffer tremendously with cruel treatment, just as humans do. Cruelty against them has been found to harm society as a whole, normalising insensitivity in children who can become numb to the suffering of living beings, and increasing violence towards other humans. Foreigners who experience or come to see this brutality in your country will leave traumatized, disgusted, and deeply saddened, rather than uplifted by Africa%u2019s paradoxical beauty and friendliness.
I urge you to end the violent Ukweshwama ritual and move towards progression to a truly peaceful country, by encouraging respect and appropriate treatment towards animals, as outlined in Animals Protection Act, Act 71 of 1962) section 2(a). Globally ideas concerning animal rights are becoming more popular by the day, and until such time as animal welfare laws are enforced in Africa, it will be necessary to many to boycott your country as both as a tourist and via commerce as well as encourage others to participate in a boycott as well.
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