By Moyahabo Mabeba, The African Times
DURING one of my recent trips to the erstwhile Venda homeland, I found myself having to explain what the word “sports” means as I was engaged in a verbal exchange with some of the traditionalist intelligentsia there up-north.
The argument was based on whether this brutal exercise called Musangwe is a “sport” or sheer celebrated violence.
The incongruity over the classification of Musangwe as a sport was so intense on that Sunday that we even put aside the glasses of the drinks that were part of the menu as we reflected on this touchy subject.
Seeing that I was about to be outnumbered by the locals who were adamant that Musangwe is a “sport”, I reached for all the dictionaries I had at my disposal during this trip to the far north.
According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, sports is a game, competition or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules for enjoyment and/or as a job.
The same explanation is corroborated by the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.
This sporting lexicon would suggest that the bare-knuckle fighting jamboree cannot be sport.
Thanks heaven this is only practiced in Venda and no one else in the world does that.
The organisers of this gruesome event, held against the backdrop of Christmas and Heritage Month festivities, even go as far as calling their vicious shindigs as “tournaments”.
With limited space on this column, let me not even bother to explain what a tournament is.
Having seen the visuals of Musangwe, I have concluded that this brutal exercise therefore cannot be sport.
What kind of sport is it where there are no rules?
During this act of cruelty, the fight continues until blood is shed, until someone is knocked out or the fighter surrenders by raising his hand
During this act of cruelty, the fight continues until blood is shed, until someone is knocked out or the fighter surrenders by raising his hand.
I was shocked out of my wits when my little birdie told me that muti plays a central role in winning these fierce fights.
From my understanding of sporting competency, any use of muti or performance-enhancing drugs is downright cheating.
My bone of contention with Musangwe is that men are beaten to a pulp in front of their loved ones and village juniors.
Indeed, no husband or father deserves to be respected after being humiliated at a Musangwe sparing in front of the wife and kids.
Moyahabo Mabeba is Chief Sportswriter for the African Times. This article was published in The African Times.