Protesters hold traditional ceremony on Clifton over beach closure

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CAPE TOWN, December 28 – Cape Town residents protesting against the controversial forced closure of Cape Town’s world-famous Clifton Fourth Beach earlier in the week, slaughtered a sheep as part of a traditional ceremony on the beach on Friday evening.

The ceremony attracted the attention of animal rights activists who objected to the slaughter.

The incident is the latest in the saga which unfolded after beachgoers were instructed to leave the beach by a private security company earlier in the week.

The actions by private security company PPA sparked outrage, with many people drawing parallels between that and apartheid-era legislation and action which saw black people prohibited from frequenting beaches set aside for whites.

On Friday evening, a group of several hundred people gathered on the beach as part of a protest against the controversial move and to fight against racism and declaring their intention of claiming back the city.

The sheep was dragged onto the beach as part of the ceremony and traditional incense called impepho was burnt as part of sending a message to ancestors.

The sheep was later slaughtered but not before several animal rights activists had voiced their objections.

The group of protesters said they are not representing any political party but some political party t-shirts, including those belonging to the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), could be seen.

The group said the meat was going to be braaied and that they planned to stay on the beach after 8 pm which was the curfew the security company said had been imposed when it ordered people off the beach on Sunday.

A small number of animal rights activists could be seen on the beach as the traditional ceremony got underway, with a woman who said she belonged to an organisation fighting for animal rights left distraught.

Another activist, Chloe Kingdom, said she was not white and was fully supportive of building a non-racial country, however, she said slaughtering a sheep as a sign of fighting racism amounted to animal brutality.

Several other organisations held up placards saying that they were not against people fighting for their rights but said violence towards animals should stop.

On Thursday, a statement from the Fees Must Fall Western Cape group, under the #ReclaimClifton banner, said: “We are calling on all self-respecting Blacks (Indian, Coloured and Africans) to descend at Clifton 4th Beach on Friday 28 December 2018 at 18h00 for a political protest.

“We must be clear that this is a political protest after some of our people were illegally removed by a private security company called Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA). In justifying its illegal actions, the company claimed that the patrons were not allowed to be at the beach after 20h00. This is illegal as only the City of Cape Town can enforce such by-laws, even then, such by-laws need to be fair and just taking into consideration the needs of the public at large.”

A separate group, under the famous anti-apartheid slogan #God’sbeachesforallGod’speople, are planning a picnic on the beach on Saturday evening. Among this grouping are people who were instructed to leave the beach on Sunday night.

A statement from the group said: “We are going to reclaim our city; our beaches on Saturday, December 29 at 5 pm by having a sunset picnic at Fourth Beach. With our friends and families, we will wear white in defiance of attempts to keep us off God’s beaches.

“We have no intention so breaking any legitimate laws and will abide by the normal rules of public beaches will apply, no alcohol and noise disturbances. We are very committed to act within the provision of legitimate laws and call on all who attend to do the same.”

The City of Cape Town has denied any involvement in the incident and accused the PPA of overstepping its mandate by forcing the closure of the beach.

The incident has sparked a public outcry and has become a political rallying point with accusations centred around racism and exclusivity.

– African News Agency (ANA)