So what about this recent shot depicting the annual Reed Dance ceremony, and annual Swazi and Zulu tradition held in August and September? In Swaziland, it turns out, tens and thousands of unmarried and childless girls and women travel from the chiefdoms of Ludizidzini to participate in the eight-day event.
In South Africa, the ceremony Umkhosi woMhlanga takes place every year in September at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongom, KwaZulu-Natal. The girls come from all parts of Zululand, and in recent years there are also smaller groups from Swaziland, as well as more distant places such as Botswana and Pondoland.
All girls are required to undergo a virginity test before they are allowed to participate in a royal dance, though in recent years the testing practice has been met with some opposition. [Trust those guys to demands we could never meet locally!]
The girls wear traditional attire, including beadwork, and “izigege” bracelets, necklaces, and colorful sashes. Each sash has appendages of a different color, 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 carries a long reed, which is then deposited as they approach the king. The girls take care to choose only the longest and strongest reeds, and then carry them towering above their heads in a slow procession, up the hill to the palace.
The procession is led by the chief Zulu princess, who takes a prominent role throughout the festival.
If the reed should break before the girl reaches that point, it is considered a signal that the girl has already been sexually active.
How long before our own elected kings, imagined as well as other Kings, not to mention kings of carnival and La Woz, demand equal rights?
The preceding information is from a Youtube video of the Reed Dance by user ‘My Africa.’
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