My daughter told me a story today about a Zulu “emperor” named Shaka. If I understood the story correctly, his community contained people who claimed to be able to detect witches. To test them, Shaka smeared his own wall with blood one night then summoned the witch-detectors and demanded that they locate the witch that was responsible for this blood-smearing. The detectors accused something like 300 people of being witches who had participated in perpetrating this crime.
Shaka reacted by ordering the witch-detectors to be clubbed to death. Hooray!
Another intriguing story about Shaka, which you can read here, is that he ordered his soldiers to march, fight and run in bare feet because sandals would slow them down. To train their tender feet, he ordered them to dance on thorns – and he participated in the dance.
As a barefoot runner (see my tender naked feet here), I am impressed but I am not planning to take up thorn dancing unless jobs get really scarce around here.
The theory that one can run faster over rough terrain in bare feet than in sandals intrigues me. Maybe so. Abebe Bikila set a world record running the marathon in bare feet at the 1960 Olympics.
I’m not planning to try that either.