ANC in KZN hit back at animal rights activist over king's lion hunt

23 August 2022 - 08:00
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King Misuzulu kaZwelithini and a professional hunter pose with a three-year-old male lion which they shot at Mkuze Falls Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday night.
King Misuzulu kaZwelithini and a professional hunter pose with a three-year-old male lion which they shot at Mkuze Falls Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday night.
Image: Supplied

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has hit back at animal rights activist and director of Ban Animal Trading Dr Smaragda Louw over her comments about King Misuzulu KaZwelithini's royal hunt. 

The king, as part of the Ukungena Esibayeni (entering the kraal) ritual over the weekend, killed a lion to use for his traditional garment.

According to cultural expert Dr Gugu Mazibuko, this forms part of the right of passage for the new king.

However, the practice was questioned by some activists, including Louw, who told the Sunday Times change is needed when traditional practices become harmful to people or the environment.

Louw questioned whether traditional practices could be adapted for the benefit of all species.

“In the case of the Zulu king hunting a wild lion, certain practices have changed — for example, the king no longer rides on a horse to shoot a wild lion. He now rides on the back of a bakkie to kill the animal. How is it possible to change some parts of tradition to make it easier? Yet when it comes to protecting the environment and all the species on this planet we find it very difficult to change tradition.”

Reacting to Louw's comment, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said no rules were broken during the hunt.

“For the record, there was no sale of the lion. The Zulu royal family had a permit and professional hunter, including a district conservation officer, who were in attendance throughout the process. We, therefore, reject any attempt to pit the Zulu royal family against society,” said the party.

It warned against any attempt to divide people along cultural lines, and called for citizens to unite.

“The leadership of the ANC will work tirelessly to promote freedom of worship and religion.

“Our constitution was designed specifically to protect all cultures and customs practised by our people. This is specifically meant to protect minority communities from any form of discrimination. Therefore, it would be reckless to discriminate against the indigenous people who are in the majority.”

The ANC said it would work with the Zulu royal family and support it to showcase the diversity of cultures while simultaneously showing unity as “one people and one nation”.

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