Zulu dancers perform in leopard skins, some of them fake

EBUHLENI, South Africa (AP) — At least 1,200 men in ceremonial attire have danced at a mainly Zulu gathering in South Africa, wearing a mix of hides of illegally hunted leopards and Chinese-made, spotted capes designed by conservationists to reduce demand for the real thing.

The phalanxes of dancers with shields, headgear of ostrich feathers and other regalia on Sunday evoked the proud traditions of one of South Africa’s main ethnic groups, as well as the piety of the participants, whose Shembe religious movement blends Christian and indigenous beliefs.

About half the men were wearing fake leopard skins in an openness to change among the Shembe group, which views the pelts as symbols of power.

The number of African leopards has dropped because of habitat loss, illegal hunting for the predators’ skins and other factors.

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Article source: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/zulu-dancers-perform-leopard-skins-some-them-fake

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