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Google under fire for restricting Zulu content

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South Africa’s Zulu tribe is blaming Google for undermining their culture terming it “An attack on African culture”.  The accusations by the South Africans stem from age restrictions on their cultural content by YouTube.

Reed dance

The Zulu tribe has said that by the channel restricting videos from the reed dance ceremony also called Umhlanga an annual Swazi and Zulu event where tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini Royal Village  to participate in the eight-day event.

The girls wear traditional attire, including beadwork, and izigege and izinculuba that show their bottoms. They also wear anklets, bracelets, necklaces, and colourful sashes. Each sash has appendages of a different colour, which denote whether or not the girl is betrothed.

As part of the ceremony, the young women dance bare-breasted for their king, and each maiden carries a long reed, which is then deposited as they approach the king.

The community is now calling blockage of the content a form of racism. They have said the tradition represents oneness and unity arguing the company regards the tradition as archaic, indecent and inappropriate yet it supports sexual content on the platform.

According to YouTube’s restricted content guideline, the review team has the power to apply restrictions with reference to rules and regulations the company provides publicly.

“Some videos don’t violate our policies, but may not be appropriate for all audiences. In these cases our review team may place an age restriction when we’re notified of the content. Age-restricted videos are not visible to users who are logged out, are under 18 years of age, or have Restricted Mode enabled. When evaluating whether content is appropriate for all ages, here are some of the things we consider”

  • Vulgar language
  • Violence and disturbing imagery
  • Nudity and sexually suggestive content
  • Portrayal of harmful or dangerous activities

 

 

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Melissa Daniels
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