Load of Bull
Travelling by train in SA is dangerous business, and i’m not just talking about those commuters who think it’s a good idea to do so on the roof of the carriage, or while leaning out the jammed-open door. When you’re not being mugged or your train isn’t crashing into a truck at a level crossing, you’re trying to escape the carriage while rioters (sorry, I mean strikers engaged in peaceful industrial action) set it on fire.
So what does Metrorail and the SA Rail Commuter’s Association decide to do about this issue? They slaughtered a bull at Khayelitsha station.
It was a cleansing ceremony with a difference – people from all South African religions were represented with one objective: to ask for divine intervention to reduce horrific train-related accidents and attacks.
Unusually, the bull that was slaughtered at Khayelitsha railway station yesterday did not bellow despite being jabbed in the chest with an assegai [traditional spear] and having its throat slit.
According to Xhosa culture this may have meant that the sacrifice was not accepted. But Dr Mathole Motshega, of the Kara Heritage Institute, who led the cleansing ritual, said the event aimed to be inclusive of all cultures and focus on the features the various religions had in common.
Right, because I’m sure the Hindu population of South Africa thought it was a lovely ceremony.
It was the first ceremony of its kind and could be extended to all regions where Metrorail operates.
Take note, the organising bodies are respectively a division of the parastatal Transnet, and an agency of the Department of Transport, so their reaction is a government sponsored reaction, and paid for in part by your taxes.
For some of the train accident survivors and the families of people killed on trains, in whose honour the SA Rail Commuter Corporation and Metrorail arranged the ceremony, the occasion opened old wounds.
For the bull, it merely opened new ones.
This kind of superstitious nonsense has no business being pushed by secular state bodies, any more than the Department of Health should be urging people to use traditional medicines in lieu of seeing doctors. Just because it’s someone’s ‘culture’ doesn’t make it effective or ethical.