The First Fruits Festival is a traditional Zulu ceremony whereby young men celebrate their coming of age by killing a bull with their bare hands. That's around 40 boys of around 14 years old suffocating, gorging, ripping apart a bull with nothing but their own hands. The NSPCA (Southern African National Councils of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has been appealing to Governments about this for the last ten years now, but nobody seems to want to do anything as it is culturally sensitive. President Zuma of South Africa is in fact himself Zulu. To quote the NSPCA "Incidents to which the NSPCA has objection and believes are violations of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 include: - choking the animal by pushing sand or mud down its throat, gouging out its eyes to down the animal, twisting its testicles and tying its penis until the animal succumbs and is then jumped on, kicked and beaten until it dies, usually about 40 minutes after the event began."
Many people worldwide, myself included. are beginning to learn of the cruelty behind the killing of the bull during the traditional Zulu First Fruits ritual, and we are appalled. Knowing that such cruelty is performed in the name of culture does not attract us to want to visit South Africa. We believe that when this is picked up by the national media, there will be an outcry amongst animal welfare supporters, which will not put South Africa in a good light; especially considering the impending 2010 World Cup.
Throughout history many traditional acts of cruelty have been replaced with cruelty-free alternatives, and are now looked back upon with a sense of 'how could we have let that happen?' Please do everything in your power to ensure that South Africa can hold its head up high and join the list of countries who are replacing traditional acts of animal cruelty with non-violent alternatives.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.