Ox killed to bless stadiums
Johannesburg - An ox was slaughtered at the Soccer City stadium on Tuesday to bless the country's stadiums for the FIFA World Cup.
Xhosa warrior, Zakhele Sigcawu, 70, of the Tshawe clan, speared the ox in the back of its neck between its horns.
"He is a specialist in doing this," said Zolani Mkiva, president and director general of the Institute of African Royalty. "He came all the way from the rural Eastern Cape to do this."
The ceremony, which started with the slaughter, was attended by about 2 000 people from most South African cultures, and most of them in traditional attire.
Mkhiva said the stadium was blessed by about 300 sangomas (diviners) - including a white sangoma - and inyanga (traditional healers).
They invoked "the spirits of our African ancestors to usher in their wisdom and energy in setting the scene of what was to follow in the day", he said.
While the traditional herb, impepho, was burnt, traditional healers called on African ancestors and God to ensure a successful World Cup.
They all also communicated the "spirit" of the day's proceedings to the other stadiums in the country "spiritually.
"We centralised it (the blessing) here as the tournament starts here and ends here," he said, adding that the spiritual communication process was very "sacred".
In African culture, the stadium was seen as a "house" and a place was created within the Soccer City precinct to act as a "kraal" where the ox was slaughtered.
"After that, the senior traditional healers walked into the stadium in song, drum-beating and dance, where they continued to bless the inside of the stadium with rituals," said Mkhiva.
"Our stadiums are now officially blessed, according to our culture, for the tournament," he said.
The ceremony included a blessing of everything related to the World Cup, including well-wishes for Bafana Bafana, the organisers and the country as a whole.