The man reponsible for organizing cultural activities at the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa wants to kick off the world's most watched sporting event with multiple animal sacrifices.
Zolani Mkvia wants to perform a traditional ritual slaughter of a cow at each of the 10 venues where matches will be held. "We must have a cultural ceremony of some sort, where we are going to slaughter a beast," said Mkvia, chairman of Makhonya Royal Trust, the group responsible for coordinating cultural activities.
"We sacrifice the cow for this great achievement and we call on our ancestors to bless, to grace, to ensure that all goes well. It's about calling for the divinity to prevail for a fantastic atmosphere. We believe that from the start we've got to do things in accordance with our own traditions."
Mkiva said the Trust has sent letters to the chief executive and chairman of the World Cup Local Organizing Committee, proposing the animal sacrifice ceremonies. Officials have yet to respond to the request.
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, soccer columnist Grahame L. Jones calls this "rubbish:"
"The World Cup is a global event that just happens to be taking place in South Africa. The country is incredibly scenic and has a marvelous array of wildlife and a diverse range of peoples, each with a rich store of myth and folklore.
In other words, there are plenty of unique and colorful African traditions to be celebrated without resorting to animal sacrifice."
This could be another example of culture clash. What is distasteful to some is tradition for others. Does anyone have the right to tell a culture whether its traditions are right or wrong? Or is animal cruelty always wrong, cultural heritage or not?