A woman receives the Johnson and Johnson vaccine during the launch of the VaxuMzansi National Vaccine Day Campaign at the Gandhi Phoenix Settlement in Bhambayi township, north of Durban, on September 24, 2021 ( AFP / Rajesh JANTILAL)

Video shows South Africa heritage celebration, not Zulu anti-vaccine protest

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Social media posts claim a video shows South Africa's Zulus protesting against mandatory vaccination. This is false; while South Africa has announced plans for vaccine passports, the video shows people celebrating the country's Heritage Day, not opposing mandatory shots.

"THE ZULU COME OUT STRONGLY TO REJECT MANDATORY VAX," says text in a TikTok video that shows people in traditional attire, many of them bearing spears and shields, chanting as they move around parked vehicles including police cars.

Screenshot of a TikTok video taken on September 28, 2021

The video spread among US-based social media users here and here in late September 2021, as businesses as well as federal and local authorities in the country impose vaccination requirements in various settings such as bars, the military, schools and entertainment venues.

But the people in the video are not protesting against vaccines.

Siphamandla Goge, a reporter for local channel eNCA, tweeted the video along with the hashtag #heritageday2021 on September 24, writing that it shows a commemoration in KwaDukuza, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Heritage Day is a public holiday celebrating South African roots and cultures. It was formerly known as King Shaka Day, when Zulus commemorate the legendary King Shaka.

Google Street View shows that the video was taken on this street. The Lounge & Furniture World shop and its phone number match the one visible in the background of the clip.

Screenshot of Google Street View taken on September 28, 2021

A Google Maps search shows that there is a memorial to King Shaka directly across from where the crowd in the video appears.

Other news footage about the September 24 celebration shows both the memorial and the building visible on the right-hand side of the video that was falsely said to show the anti-vaccine demonstration.

On September 12, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa announced plans to introduce Covid-19 "vaccine passports" amid widespread scepticism of shots. The Rainbow Nation was the African country hit hardest by Covid-19, but has seen its infection rate lower in recent weeks.

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