FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show South African Zulus Protesting Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination?
A video shared on Instagram allegedly shows Zulu people in South Africa protesting against COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
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The footage actually shows Zulu South Africans attending a Heritage Day celebration.
Zulus, the largest ethnic group in South Africa, maintain a ceremonial monarchy that holds no official political power in the country, BBC News reported. The early 19th-century Zulu chief Shaka is credited with founding the Zulu empire, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The viral Instagram post features a Sept. 26 TikTok video in which people with traditional clothing, shields and weapons walk down a street outside a furniture store in the South African town of KwaDukuza. The location of the store, which is near a monument to Shaka, can be seen in a Google Maps street view.
“The Zulu come out strongly to reject mandatory vax,” claims text within the TikTok video.
The gathering depicted in the video, however, was not a protest against vaccine policies. A correspondent for the South African outlet eNews Channel Africa shared a longer version of the footage in a Sept. 24 tweet, indicating in the caption that the crowd had assembled for Heritage Day festivities.
#heritageday2021 More Amabutho nezintombi arrive KwaDukuza to commemorate uMkhosi weLembe. AmaZulu King, MisuZulu KaZwelithini is set to address this year’s commemmoration. #eNCA pic.twitter.com/mn76Pm7jZB
— Siphamandla Goge (@SiphamandlaGoge) September 24, 2021
The South African government explained in a press release that Heritage Day, the public holiday celebrated Sept. 24, recognizes and celebrates the country’s cultural traditions. Prince Misuzulu, who was named the new Zulu king but is yet to have a coronation, was present at the commemoration of Shaka in KwaDukuza that day, TimesLIVE reported.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sept. 3 that his government would not make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, according to the Associated Press. Health Minister Joe Phaahla stated the same day that companies could choose to require their workers and customers to be vaccinated, the outlet also reported.