Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
The relationship between the lion hunter and the chief was bad, and there was more to it than that.
However, Li Du did not feel like he could ask more questions. When the lion hunter stopped talking about these matters, he changed the topic.
During this visit to the Zulu tribe, he would attend a dinner party, and there would be a performance of war dance. The next day, the lion hunter would take him to participate in a tribal hunt in the wild.
However, in the evening, the lion hunter went out, came back with a mysterious smile on his face, and said, “Tomorrow we will not go hunting. It is postponed. Tomorrow you will be able to see a sacred ceremony.”
“What sacred ceremony?” Li Du asked.
The lion hunter did not answer, and said with a smile, “My guess is that you have never experienced this before. Believe me, tomorrow you will be surprised.”
In the evening, a lot of men and women gathered in an open space belonging to the tribe. They were dressed in bright clothes and were smiling brightly. Once they took over the open space, they sang and danced.
The topless young girls danced in front of the crowd, and when Lu Guan and the others came along, someone pulled them in and made them take part in the dance.
When the sun went down, the moon rose, and a bonfire illuminated the area. A flame dashed into the air, letting out a crackling sound in the wind.
At this point, the people who had been dancing like crazy got out of the way, and dozens of strong young men and women ran out into the open space and began the war dance performance.
During the performance, the young men wore leopard skins. This was not fake fur like they had in urban areas, but the real thing.
Cheetah skin was a chieftain’s attire, but it could also be worn by ordinary men during agora dancing, along with leopard- skins and shins with lion manes or other animal furs.
Around the clearing, there were the sounds of drums, howling, stamping and clapping, and the young men made all kinds of combat gestures, following the beat and rhythmic sounds of the drums.
In the beginning, their dancing mainly consisted of agile jumps. After a while, someone gave them knives, guns, and sticks, and they began to wave the weapons around to show their heroic fighting posture.
Looking at the fierce war dance, the Zulu people, including the lion hunter, showed their pride. They raised their heads, stamped their feet and clapped or cheered for the dancers.
At some point, the lion hunter turned back and asked, “How’s that, Li? How’s our war dance?”
Li Du clapped hard and said, “Cool, dude. It’s no wonder I heard that the Zulu people are the most courageous warriors in Africa!”
The lion hunter lifted his head proudly and said, “Of course, we are the bravest and most warlike Africans in the world. We are the only tribe that won against the British.”
He was talking about the Zulu war, which took place in 1879, the same year as Dien Bien Phu, the battle of Malay Peninsula and so on. Among those battles was the one of Isandlwana, in which the British suffered heavy losses.
At Isandlwana, the British faced an attack by Zulus who were many centuries behind them in terms of progress. These nearly naked warriors, armed with primitive hunting spears, defeated invaders armed with the most advanced weapons of the time. They fought under the command of King Cetshwayo.
In the end, the Zulu lost the war, but the battle won them enough pride and confidence.
Later, Mandela led the black independence movement of South Africa, and the Zulu people have been the backbone of it because they were the most confident of the South African people.
To the dismay of Li Du and others, there was no food during the war dance. In order to show respect for the soldiers and focus on the performance, no one was allowed to eat.
The war dance began shortly after sunset and continued well into the night, until the young men and women were exhausted and the cramps in their legs and feet made it impossible to go on.
At that time, they could finally eat, which was a good thing, as Li Du was starving.
Finally, he tasted the famous stewed and roasted leopard meat cooked by the local tribe. He filled his stomach and they went to the room arranged by the lion hunter for a rest.
The next morning, they had a plentiful breakfast. There was corn porridge, roasted corn, steamed corn, corn sweet sauce, fried corn kernels, corn kernels with meat sauce and so on.
All in all, the local love of corn was fully shown in this breakfast.
At breakfast, the lion hunter said, “You are free to move around later. Around ten o’clock, go to the place where we saw the war dance last night. There will be an old ceremony there.”
“Something to look forward to? What ritual is this? What is the secret about?”
The lion hunter winked and said, “rituals that men and women love.”
His mysterious attitude aroused the curiosity of Li Du and his group. After wandering around town for a while, Li Du and the others turned their steps to the open place where they saw people gathering.
The crowd consisted of young men and women, though some of the faces were prematurely lined. The Zulu people were always engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, and hunting. Their outdoor life made them age sooner than they would have otherwise.
Li Du could not tell how old the men and women actually were. He estimated that they were actually youngsters no more than 15 or 16 years old.
When they arrived, an old woman with a lump of mud on her forehead came up, waved and shouted, “taluru, tabaluru!”
“What does that mean?” wondered Li Du.
Lu Guan scratched his head and said, “It seems to be the Zulu words for go away. I heard it several times last night, but I didn’t really pay attention.”
Li Du looked back and saw the lion hunter smiling at them not far away. Some men around him were smiling as well.
See this, Li Du realized that they were fooled by the lion hunter.
He hurried away, but the old lady caught Sophie by the hand and mumbled something to her. Li Du did not know what she said, but she sounded very kind.
“Tell Miss Sophie to stay, and you get out of here, or you’ll be beaten!” said the lion hunter.
Li Du frowned and asked, “What’s going on? Have you tricked us?”
“No, no. There really is an ancient sacred ritual to test the purity of boys and girls,” laughed the lion hunter.
Li Du looked back at the girls in the distance, and at a clearing surrounded by a long cloth. He thought he understood what the lion hunter meant and asked, “Are there actually things like this?”
The lion hunter shrugged his shoulders and said, “Perhaps you know that we Zulus have a tradition of making sacrifices to the goddesses, and that’s what you see now.”
How could Li Du possibly know of such a tradition? The others were looking confused as well.
The lion hunter told them, “According to the belief of our people, if the goddess does not get due respect, there will be natural and man-made disasters, and humans, in particular women asking for the blessing of the goddess, must keep their virginity.”
Li Du shook his head and said, “If you really believe in this goddess, you should not maintain the polygamy system.”
The lion hunter went on as if he heard nothing, “So this is a tradition that was lost, but has been recovered over the years.”