Cultures differ… respect those differences

Scattering ashes. Picture: Facebook

Scattering ashes. Picture: Facebook

African cultures do not scatter the ashes of their loved ones in oceans and other public places, but do not protest when other cultures do so.

In the case of the reclaiming of Clifton beach, no statement reigns more true than “there is a place and time for everything.”

The Clifton saga was in itself a ticking time bomb, the restriction of certain classes and races to a public amenity.

The look of disdain on the faces of those residing near the beach and the use of security personnel to have visitors escorted off the beach – all on the basis of the colour of their skin and their class currency. Well, it was only a matter of time before it all came to a head.

A very big part of me welcomes the occupancy of the beach by those who felt excluded.

An even bigger part of me agrees that there was a dividing force that needed to be removed.

My issue is with animal rights activists.

They did their cause more harm than good with their ill-timed protest.

As Africans who have felt marginalised, we get the impression their stance is that the rights of animals by far outweighs our right to feel as part of the population of the country.

Marion Sparg summed it up perfectly in her analysis when she wrote that “a public beach is not the place where a sheep would normally be slaughtered – but this was not a normal situation.

“The only thing these activists achieved is to reinforce the notion that white people care more about animals than they do about the lives of their fellow South African.”

One may argue that other races and cultures in their own way “torture and abuse animals”.

But that is no justification for turning noses up at another culture for practising their cultural beliefs.

In African culture, we believe the deceased become our ancestral beings, while other races practice the culture of scattering the ashes of their loved ones in oceans and other places that are public spaces.

So here we are swimming in oceans containing the remains of your loved ones.

We do not understand the practice, but we don’t protest when Jenny and family want to send their beloved off in a way that they believe in.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo.

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