Zulus of Lewes with a new look for Bonfire Night.

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Zulus of Lewes save face with a new look for Bonfire Night.. Marchers had painted their faces black but changed their approach this year. David Mchugh / Brighton Pictures, 2019.

Zulus of Lewes save face with a new look for Bonfire Night.. Marchers had painted their faces black but changed their approach this year. Image Credit: David Mchugh / Brighton Pictures, 2019.

Zulus of Lewes save face with a new look for Bonfire Night.

FFor more than 150 years the people of Lewes have continued their tradition of blacking their faces while dressing as Zulu warriors for their bonfire night parade. The practice caused tensions in the East Sussex town between those who wished to continue the tradition and ethnic minorities who found “blacking up” offensive, but this year organisers found a compromise after talking to modern Zulus.

Lewes Borough Bonfire Society, whose members have worn costumes inspired by Zulu culture since about 1860, swapped their dark make-up for bold colours this year. Mick Symes, 69, a captain for Borough, said that “the odd person” had protested by booing but that they were overwhelmed by cheering spectators.

Thandanani Gumede, a Zulu born in South Africa, told the society that it was an ancient celebration of Zulus.

 

Information and Image have been dshared from an Article by Lewes Borough Bonfire Society  , published at The Times, London, UK, on November 7th, 2019. Image Credit: David Mchugh / Brighton Pictures, 2019.


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