Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ox Sacrifice: Not Something You See Every Quadrennium

We stipulated long ago that South Africa 2010 would be like no other World Cup. For hundreds of reasons.

And here is one of them: The sacrifice of an ox at Soccer City to bless the country's World Cup stadiums, two weeks ahead of kickoff.

I am pretty sure Germany didn't sacrifice any large domestic animals at the 2006 World Cup ... and neither did Uruguay at the first World Cup, in 1930.

This is a South Africa thing.

According to the Johannesburg Times story linked above, a 70-year-old warrior of the Xhosa tribe did the honors, dispatching the beast with a spear thrust between the horns.

(Brings to mind the final thrust of a bullfight, actually. Maybe Spain did kill a bull or two, before the 1982 World Cup? But Italy won that one. Hmmm.)

The Times was told that the elderly warrior is "an expert in doing this" who was "brought all the way from the rural Eastern Cape" for the gig.

The story uses a couple of local-local words that I, at least, don't recognize, so I did some research.

A sangoma apparently is a "traditional healer" and sometimes simply referred to as a shaman.

Meanwhile, an inyanga seems to be more of a Zulu tribal concept, and according to the link is more into homeopathy than divination. And the inyanga apparently "learns from the living while the sangoma learns from the dead."


Doesn't hurt to have some around, presumably.

The ceremony included a blessing of "everything related to the World Cup." Does that extend to the author of this blog? Maybe not.

Let's see how South Africa 2010 turns out. Four years from now, Brazil may want to refer back to today's ox-slaughter/blessing-giving.

No comments:

Post a Comment