Lewes Bonfire night axes 'racist' tradition

The Annual Lewes Bonfire Night Parade

A society which takes part in one of the UK's biggest Bonfire Night events by wearing Zulu costumes and black face paint has agreed to alter their tradition following a petition accusing them of racism.

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The leader of a Zulu dance troupe booked to perform at the Sussex event said Lewes Borough Bonfire Society's costumes were "incredibly offensive".

Thandanani Gumede told the BBC: "I was really disappointed.

"Bones through the noses, dead monkeys, skulls, horns, huge feathered headdresses.

"They looked barbaric, like a cross between a Viking and a showgirl. It was incredibly offensive. Nothing about those outfits resembled a Zulu warrior."

A petition was set up and received 1,600 signatures to stop "the offensive practice of blacking up".

The Lewes Borough Bonfire Society said it has now reviewed its approach and wants to honour the Zulu warriors by being more authentic, the group told ITV Meridian.

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