Bloemfontein: A bull bellowed in sacrifice
on Saturday as South Africa`s ruling ANC paid tribute to its
ancestors and founding leaders, who 100 years ago paved the
way for Nelson Mandela`s rainbow nation.
President Jacob Zuma led the slaughter of a black bull in
a ceremony on the second day of the African National Congress
centenary festivities to celebrate its rich anti-apartheid
legacy now tarnished by scandals and challenges.
"Today our leaders, traditional leaders and traditional
healers, had to perform certain rituals before we get into
serious business of celebration," said Zuma after the
sacrifice at the church site where the ANC was founded in
"In other words, to remember our ancestors, to remember
our own gods in a traditional way."
Overlooked by giant portraits of former leaders such as
Mandela, healers and cultural groups dressed in beads,
porcupine head-dresses and animal skins sang, danced and
prepared food as politics gave way to African drums and
Two goats and two chickens were slaughtered ahead of the
bull, which was a gift from neighbouring Lesotho King Letsie
III, in traditional rituals to communicate with the ancestors.
"Everything has been done. We have spoken to the
ancestors," Zuma said before the sacrifice.
The three-day birthday bash of Africa`s oldest liberation
movement wraps up tomorrow when Zuma will address a rally to
outline the party`s way forward, as he seeks to rein in
feuding factions to secure another term at the helm of the ANC
in party elections this year.
Mandela, who led the country`s heady early days of
all-race democracy, is notably absent, as his party faces
growing frustration over graft smears and the failure to roll
out better services to the 38 percent of the nation still
living in poverty.
Cultural song, dance and poetry readings were on the
programme Saturday ahead of a gala dinner where Zuma will host
heads of state and global anti-apartheid movements before
lighting a flame at midnight to mark the anniversary.
The party was founded in Bloemfontein as the South
African Native National Congress, and met crushing brutality
from apartheid rulers who slapped it with a ban in 1960 and
jailed its top leaders four years later.
Nearly 30 years on, the crumbling and isolated regime
released icon Mandela to lead the country into its first
all-race polls where the party has enjoyed huge wins ever