Ban Torture of Bulls in South African Festival

Target: Government of South Africa

Goal: Stop animal cruelty at the Zulu Ukweshwama ritual in South Africa, where a bull is brutally tortured for up to an hour.

The Ukweshwama ritual, or the First Fruits Festival, is a Zulu celebration in South Africa intended to give thanks to God for the first crops of the season. To celebrate, a bull is released into a crowd and slowly tortured by bare-handed men for nearly an hour. The poor animal has its head wrenched from side to side in order to break his neck, his eyes and tongue are ripped out, and sand is stuffed into his mouth until he asphyxiates or bleeds to death. This practice has been protested for many years, but the South African government refuses to ban it because the ritual is the “heart of Zulu tradition.” Cruelty is cruelty, regardless of tradition, and humans have progressed beyond inflicting pain on innocent animals for pleasure. Urge the government of South Africa to reconsider its decision to allow these animals to suffer an agonizing death for the sake of tradition.

While few would have reason to criticize the vibrant culture of the Zulu people, many oppose the festival because it does not comply with laws against animal cruelty. Activists who oppose Ukweshwama have also pointed out that violent rituals, no matter how sacred they are to the culture, often breed violent people.

This truth is illustrated by the words of the special advisor to the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Godfrey Siphosihle Mdluli, when he said that there would be an “outpouring of anger that there is the danger of widespread unrest and civil disobedience” should the festival be banned. Many African activists who oppose the festival see this widespread societal violence as a direct result of violent practices, such as torturing animals. While it is important to respect a culture’s traditions and rituals, it is evident that animal torture not only harms the animals severely, but it also desensitizes people to violence. For these reasons, ill-treatment of bulls in the Ukweshwama festival must stop.

Despite the risk of civil disobedience, the South African government does a disservice to its people by allowing violence to continue in this manner. Not only are innocent animals killed and tortured at the hands of men, but the entire society suffers when men believe they can dominate and inflict pain on others for their own pleasure. Ask the South African government to make the responsible decision to end the torture of bulls in the Ukweshwama festival.


Dear Government of South Africa,

For many years, the Ukweshwama practice has been protested by people around the world. Many South Africans oppose it because of the unnecessary torture young bulls must endure at the hands of men. It is inexcusable that animal cruelty is allowed to persist to protect a cultural tradition. More so, this practice has not been outlawed because your government fears the “danger of widespread unrest and civil disobedience.” That a group of people will react with violence upon hearing that a cruel practice must be banned shows how deeply violence has permeated the culture.

The answer is not ignorance. The answer is change. No practice so blatantly cruel should be allowed in any human society. It harms animals and causes them unnecessary suffering, but it also desensitizes people to violence in general. Banning the torture of bulls at this festival is a step in the right direction for the people of South Africa who partake in the festival of Ukweshwama.


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  1. J Davidson says:

    Too horrible for words.

  2. Infantile monsteridiots – they never heard about living creature and pain.
    What dumb persons are they feel fun about monsterdoings.



    People need to vote unacting authorities and BASTARDS acting irresponsibly out of occupations NOW AND FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Julie van Niekerk says:

    Is there a cure for these barbaric people?

    • No because they believe its what their Ancestors want. I live amongst these people…. If you can call them human here in South Africa and they are all bloody Neanderthals!!!

  4. I stand for Animal RIGHTS! I believe all God’s creatures should be treated with respect & compassion. They feel love, feel pain & get hungry. Not all animals can fend for themselves. They depend on us. They do not deserve to be left without food or water. Abandoned after you move. Tied to a tree in your back yard until they turn to skin & bones. Put into a Lab & used as guinea pigs, so cosmetics can be tested. Caught in traps. Tortured or slaughtered! Let’s stop the insanity! Report all abuse!

  5. why they do not just take a nigger

  6. Julie van Niekerk says:

    You can teach a dog tricks, but it is very difficult to teach barbarians to become civilized.

  7. this people need to be killed. period!

  8. What the hell are the doing!!! Stop this!!

  9. Helén Johansson says:

    This is outrageous! This has to stop! Kick and beat each other instead

  10. sanne schipper says:

    Stop this cruelty please!!!! So heartless, so extreme horrific and completely inneccesary!!!

  11. Te afschuwelijk voor woorden

  12. Karin Koch says:

    Sick People I stop this please!

  13. Rochelle Wood says:

    Pfft. What losers!! Leave the animals alone

  14. kwang murphy Kwang Murphy says:

    These people are so sad cause they are have they have No idea how to be A Humans.

  15. This is completely unacceptable!

  16. I am sick to my stomach by this vile evil and cruelty – what makes people do these things! And why is the government of South Africa and the animal charities there not getting it stopped? This should be reported on the world news so that people will boycott South Africa until this is stopped!

  17. Ridiculous that governments don’t help their people evolve. This is barbaric and primitive, shame on this country for allowing this.

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