BOER-ZULU COMMEMORATION AT BLOOD RIVER

This annual Boer and Zulu dance festival is attended by over 4 000 people. Tourists from across the globe join latter-day Voortrekkers and Zulus dressed in full battle regalia for a day of commemoration and dance "The main purpose of this Boer and Zulu event is to emphasise reconciliation in South Africa," says Sinothi Thabethe, manager of the Blood River Museum. "Every year thousands of Zulus gather on the one side of Blood River and stand in silence while a group of Afrikaners hold their prayer service on the other side. Afterwards, several representatives from each side cross the river in a gesture of reconciliation." Then the dancing begins! Witnessing Zulus dancing is one of the most powerful and evocative experiences imaginable. Visitors to South Africa often comment that they feel awed in the presence of these modern-day Zulu warriors whose power and energy enlivens proceedings. A public holiday in South Africa, December 16 is now known as the 'Day of Reconciliation'. It used to be the 'Day of the Vow', in accordance with the Voortrekkers' vow to God to forever observe the day as a holy day should they win the battle. "The name was well changed, for today it is truly a day of reconciliation," says Thabethe. "We have all put our differences aside and moved on. Where there was bitterness, there is understanding. That's what this Boer-Zulu commemoration is truly about."