Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Zulu church embraces faux fur to protect leopards  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 19/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Carrying Zulu warrior shields and draped in leopard skins, the men of South Africa's Shembe Church move hypnotically as they go through the steps of a traditional religious ritual.But the striking spotted pelts around the dancers' chests are slowly being swapped for synthetic faux fur -- thanks to a pact between conservationists and church leaders.Leopard skins are a symbol of pride and royalty in the Shembe religion, which was founded a century ago in the country's eastern KwaZulu-Natal region with roots in Christianity and Zulu customs.However, with the big cat populations threatened by loss of habitat and poaching, Shembe leaders have backed a cheaper and predator-friendly alternative that still upholds tradition."The leopard skin has got a significance because it shows power," said Lizwi Ncwane, spokesman for the church officially known as the Nazareth Baptist Church."For the past four months now, we have been using fake skins because we are trying to bring awareness among our people," he told AFP.

Boasting more than five million members, tens of thousands of faithful flock to a special service every January where older men move to the rhythmic sound of drumbeats and low trumpets."That is the way we worship God, we worship through prayers as well as dances," said Ncwane.But participants must wear the colourful ceremonial dress, which includes a loin cloth of monkey tails, a leopard skin belt, elaborate headgear with ostrich feathers and above all a cape of leopard skin slung across their naked chests."It represents being the king," explained mineworker Sphiwe Cele, who says he paid 4,500 rand (412) for his legally-hunted authentic leopard skin -- a fortune for the average South African."Of course we are not the king of the Zulu, but Shembe said we are the kings of our homes, so we must wear this today when we go to the traditional gathering," he added.In a country where leopard hunting permits are only affordable for the very rich or foreign tourists, conservation groups dispute that the trophies worn at Shembe gatherings are legal.- 'Totally illegal' -

"This is the biggest display of illegal wildlife contraband on earth," said Guy Balme, Africa leopard programme director with US-based conservation group Panthera."Everything you see here is totally illegal," he said at one of the dances as music rang out in the background.Most of the skins come from poachers in South Africa and neighbouring Mozambique, Zimbabwe and nearby Malawi, he said.Listed as "near threatened" by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, leopards number between 5,000 and 7,000 in South Africa today, according to conservation group Landmarks Foundation director Bool Smuts."They certainly are on a distinct decline," he said, cautioning that no official figures exist.

To stem poaching, Panthera in recent years has worked to develop authentic-looking fake leopard skins and to convince the Shembe to use them.Some less well-off dancers were already wearing a form of fake fur with cow and impala skins painted with leopard spots, said leopard programme coordinator Tristan Dickerson."So I thought, 'well if I came up with a realistic version, maybe we can introduce it to the church'," said Dickerson.The fabric is produced in China, then shipped to Durban where it is sewn into the final product."It has taken four years to get to the point where we are now, where they are accepting the furs and they are using them," said Dickerson.Panthera aims to distribute 6,000 mantles by mid-2014 -- free for now -- and has already given out a third of that.About 10 percent of members' furs are now estimated to be fake, since the church threw its weight behind the initiative.Donning his own synthetic leopard fur, spokesman Ncwane suggests that up to 70 percent of dancers will have given up real skins within two years.Later, loin cloths, bracelets and belts will follow, costing much less than the full natural fur regalia which costs up to 15,000 rand."It has become a kind of a trend," said Panthera volunteer John Smith. "At the beginning, some were very rude and told me they didn't need those needless blankets. It was then endorsed by the church."

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Apr 29 2016 - Omani power firm to build vital power facilityMENAFN
(MENAFN) Omani Musandam Power Company SAOC (MPC) will construct the Musandam Independent Power Plant (Musandam IPP) in the Musandam Governorate.As a high level official stated, the firm's strategy ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Saudi, French bilateral trade to reach USD13.6bMENAFN
(MENAFN) The Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum taking place in Saudi Arabia delivers the finest stage to advance parts of mutual collaboration in many new areas.The two countries enjoy great ...

 Apr 29 2016 - KSA continues to prioritize low spendingMENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi plans to return unspent money which was allocated in this year's budget for the purpose of cutting waste as state revenues weakens due to low oil prices.In the recent past, government ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- El Jaish aim to dethrone LekhwiyaThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Lekhwiya players lift the Qatar Cup trophy in this May 2 2015 file picture. Doha: El Jaish will be looking for a repeat of their 2014 Qatar Cup success when they ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar Cup Trophy Tour stops at OoredooThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: The Qatar Cup tour made its final stop at Ooredoo the official telecom partner of the Qatar Cup 2016. Staff and management took an opportunity to take photos and ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Al Rayyan rally to win Qatar Cup titleThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Al Rayyan SC players and officials celebrate while receiving the Qatar Cup after they beat El Jaish SC 21-25 25-18 25-17 32-34 18-16 in the final played at Ali Bin Hamad Al ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Emir Cup: Al Kharaitiyat Al Gharafa earn thrilling wins to advanceThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Al Sailiya’s Abdurahman Al Harazi (left) celebrates after scoring the first goal for his team during their Emir Cup third round match against Al Wakrah SC at Al Arabi ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Steinmeier doubts Trump's 'America first' planThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier gestures during a joint press conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva (not seen) after their meeting ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Met predicts a hot day with some cloudsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: The weather forecast for Qatar valid until 6pm Thursday inshore will be hot during the day with some clouds offshore will be hazy to misty at places and partly ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar key to boosting Turkey-GCC tiesThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met Turkey’s Prime Minister Dr Ahmet Davutoglu and his delegation at the Emiri Diwan yesterday. They discussed relations ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Emir welcomes King Mohammed of MoroccoThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani welcomes King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco and his delegation at Hamad International Airport. Doha: Emir H H Sheikh ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar eyes 'best of the best' turf for 2022The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A worker tends to grass being grown at a research and development centre in Murakh to find the best playing surface for FIFA 2022 yesterday. Doha: Watching grass grow ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar discusses WTD eventsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) yesterday held a meeting with UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to discuss Qatar’s preparations to host World Tourism Day 2017. ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Premier meets EU Counterterrorism CoordinatorThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday met European Union Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- QU University of Illinois sign dealThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) DOHA: An agreement signed between Qatar University College of Medicine (QU-CMED) and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has established ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- AZF Ramadan Sports Festival from June 10The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) DOHA: Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) has added cricket and rugby to its annual Ramadan Sports Festival which starts on June 10. The two-week event will end on June 24 (5-19 ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- First phase of mapping genetic code of citizens in final stageThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Fazeena Saleem DOHA: The initial phase of an initiative to map the genetic code of citizens for better diagnoses and treatment of diseases in Qatar has reached the ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar and Turkey sign security agreementThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and other officials listen to Turkish Prime Minister Dr Ahmet Davutoglu at a meeting ...

 Apr 28 2016 - Qatar- Benzema suffers hamstring strain doubt for City returnThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in action with Manchester City's Jesus Navas.Darren Staples Madrid:Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is a major doubt for the Spanish giants ...

 Apr 28 2016 - Qatar- Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli suspended for violent conductThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) London: Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli will miss the last three matches of the season after accepting Thursday an FA charge for violent conduct. The FA charged the ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help