When An Important Tradition Endangers Leopards in South Africa, A Unique Solution Is Required. Brilliant And Inspiring!
Leopard fur has been used as ceremonial attire worn by the five-million or so members of the Shembe church, a large part of South African culture a for over 100 years. Previously worn only by royalty and chiefs, leopard furs form a ceremonial, religious dress that symbolizes beauty, power and prestige. They have become sought after apparel by a growing number of male Shembe members. A single Shembe gathering can present over 1,000 leopard skins worn by members. Although many skins are old and are passed down from generation to generation, many new ones are a result of poaching, leading to shrinking leopard numbers. Instead of trying to eliminate the tradition or ceremony, people are trying to compromise in a way that protects both the culture and the leopards.
Watch this inspiring and wonderful movement work!