Sacrifice / Violence / Isitshisa [chapter]

Henry Mbaya, Cas Wepener
2022 International Handbook of Practical Theology  
The wordsacrifice is still used in most parts of the worldtodenote,for example, sacrifice on behalf of familyand children (Schreurs 2001) , but the practice of the ritual killing and burningofahuman or animal has all but disappeared in most countries of the world. However,there are also parts of the world in which sacrifice,asthe ritual killing and burningofa na nimal, is still ac orep art of the cultureand of the liturgical praxisofchurches (Mbaya 2019). Thisisthe case in certain African
more » ... ndent Churches (AIC) in South Africa. This chapter will focus on one such church: the Corinthian Church of South Africa (CCSA) and will begin with ad escription of the actual ritual killing and burningofanimalsassacrifice. The chapter will then present theories on sacrifice -from both Western and African perspectives -to attempt an interpretation of this event. Both authors of this chapter attended the sacrifice in question as participatory observers. They also conducted several interviews and focus group discussions regarding this particular sacrifice and other smaller sacrificesconducted in this church with members and leaders of the CCSA.During one workshop hosted by the authors of this chapter,they presented adescription of this sacrifice to an academic audience comprised of scholars from both Africa and Europe. Whilst listeningt ot he description and looking at the photographs of aheifer being killed and afterwards burnt to ashes, one of the participants who was from aW estern European secular context exclaimed: "But this is against the Enlightenment!" The aim of this contribution is to not onlydescribe and better understand sacrifice and violence embedded in ritual action, but also fosteratleast some transcultural appreciation for this practice in line with the corev alues of the Handbook. 2T he 'Pilgrimage' to Umlazi Every year on the last SaturdayofOctober,thousands of members of the CCSA,from almoste very corner of the country,c onvergea tU nit 2o fU mlazi Township close to Durban in the provinceofK waZulu-Natal, South Africa. They participate in the annual pilgrimaget oa ttend the ritual burning of the sacrifice, which in IsiZulu is called Isitshisa,amarked dayonthe calendar.The pilgrims arrive in buses, taxis (minibuses), cars; and nearlya ll are dressed in golden-likea ttire;w ith slingsh angingo ver their shoulders. The colours make them conspicuous in the late afternoon, and sunset of the October sky.M ost of the men wear turbans and are bearded, some carry sticks. OpenAccess. ©2 022H enryM baya and CasW epener,p ublished by De Gruyter.
doi:10.1515/9783110618150-040 fatcat:r3c2nfym4raphmwbi7qwugm2de