Cow slaughtered to bless key soccer World Cup stadium
The Star newspaper and Independent Online reported the ceremonies started with the slaughter at six in the morning. According to the traditional view, the ceremony not only blessed Soweto’s Soccer City, but all the country’s stadia.
The ceremony was attended by some 2000 people, from most of South Africa’s diverse cultures, and most of them in traditional attire. Zakhele Sigcawu, 70, of the Tshawe clan of the Xhosa people, stabbed the ox in the back of the neck, between the horns. Zolani Mkhiva, president and director general of the Institute of African Royalty said:
He is a specialist in doing this. He came all the way from the rural Eastern Cape to do this.
The Eastern Cape is more than 800 kilometres from Soweto. He said the stadium had been blessed by about 300 sangomas (spiritual mediums and healers, including a white one) and inyangas (dispensers of traditional medicine). Mkhiva said the healers called on:
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. The traditional healers called on African ancestors and God to ensure a successful World Cup.
(Contrary to popular belief, African people do believe in God, called Unkulunkulu in Zulu, for example.) The blessing was ”centralized” at Soccer City and communicated ”spiritually” to the other stadia while the sacred herb, imphepho, was burnt. Mkhiva said the ceremony was very sacred:
We centralized it (the blessing) here as the tournament starts here and ends here. 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.
Our stadiums are now officially blessed according to our culture, for the tournament.
The ceremony was meant to bless every aspect of the World Cup, as well as for the national soccer team Bafana Bafana and the country as a whole.