Africa: King of Swaziland choose a teenager to be his wife.


The Umhlanga (Reed Dance) is a traditional dance where twenty to thirty thousand of Swaziland’s maidens congregate and dance for the public. This tradition has existed for a very long time. It usually takes place around August when the weather is less harsh and the reed has matured. Thousands of maidens from all parts of Swaziland attend the reed dance.

The initial reason for this tradition was to encourage young women to abstain from sexual activities and preserve their virginities until they were matured enough to get married, according to E MKHONTA at Dansa college . It also prepares the girls for marriage as during their stay at the camps before the actual dance they are given certain tasks to perform in groups. Since there is a lot of groupwork involved, good communication skills are developed that help in solving a lot of problems in marriages. There are also elder women at the camps that advise the girls on marriage related issues and how to handle themselves in a dignified manner.

The night after their arrival at the camps, after supper, the girls set off to the destination where they are to pick the reed by foot. It is a very long distance from the camps and the trip may take the whole night. This is not a problem because the girls chuckle and share their life experiances with one another, entertaining one another along the way. Each girl may pick about ten reeds.

On the next day, after breakfast, the girls put on their traditional attire, which consists of a beaded necklace with colours of the Swazi flag called ligcebesha, colourful beads with wooly tassels which are hung from the left shoulder to the right hip “umgaco”, a low cut and short beaded skirt called indlamu and brown anklets with oval shaped attachments “emafahlawane” and tassels on the head called umcwasho that come in different colours: blue for kids, yellow for teenagers and red for the more mature maidens. After dressing up, they take their reeds to the royal village which is quite a distance from the camps. There it is used to make wind breakers of the queen mother’s house-Anon.

The whole celebration takes three days, of which on the last day there is the actual dance. On the morning of this day the girls are delivered by government vehicles to a stadium where the interested public is waiting to watch, including royalty. The girls show up in their traditional attires and looking their best to be presentable to the public. On this day the king Mswati III delivers a speech addressing his subjects on wide ranging issues like HIV/AIDS and so do other known personalities of the country depending on who is featured on the programme. This day attracks a lot of tourists to the country.

As the girls dance, the spectators may join the dance [kugiya] or throw money at their feet in appreciation of the good dance. The king is allowed to pick one of the maidens to be his bride. On September 6, 2004, he chose a sixteen-year-old reed dance participant and finalist from Miss Teenage Swaziland as a fiancée, to join his eleven wives and one other fiancée-The maidens do not gather specifically for the king and they are not forced to attend the ceremony. It is by choice that they attend the reed dance.

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13 comments:

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, I'm in the wrong country...lol

  2. Anonymous Says:

    i really would like to know how long this ceremony has gone on. many things that are cultural thru out Africa and the world are consider cultural but where did they become so and why. the number of wives and why the teenager, why? the virgins, why? Are the young men told to be virgins as well in South Africa or anywhere? why? We need to research and have more balance critical thinking going on as men and women in order for us all to evolve.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Blogger, GET YOUR FACTS RIGHTS. In the text you don't mention anything about virginity tests, but the pictures, they say a lot of LIES about Swazis and their culture.
    Swazis don't do virginity tests, and any Swazi can tell you these girls are not Swazi, their clothing is not what Swazis wear.
    You make me sick, school yourself before you put up such lies to the whole world. Damn!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I'm so glad I don't have to have my private parts check to see if I am a virgin. I'm marrying a Swazi guy and I have to say he is so handsome much more than the king. Long live Swaziland

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Primitive.

  6. coupdecoeur Says:

    Hello
    a small mark at the time of my passage on your very beautiful blog!
    congratulations!
    thanks for making us share your moments
    you have a translation of my English space!
    cordially from France
    ¸..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
    ¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
    ((¸¸.·´ ..·´ -:¦:-
    -:¦:- ((¸¸.·´* ~ Chris ~ -:¦:-
    http://SweetMelody.bloguez.com

  7. coupdecoeur Says:

    Hello
    a small mark at the time of my passage on your very beautiful blog!
    congratulations!
    thanks for making us share your moments
    you have a translation of my English space!
    cordially from France
    ¸..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
    ¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
    ((¸¸.·´ ..·´ -:¦:-
    -:¦:- ((¸¸.·´* ~ Chris ~ -:¦:-
    http://SweetMelody.bloguez.com

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I am a 19 year old boy and I would like to proudly reccommend the Reed dance as one of the traditional ways to keep youth from sleeping around.This contributes a lot in regulation or decreasing the spreading of STD's and HIV/AIDS.Such ceremonies need be encouraged a lot in rural places where most people have no aceess to information and general precautions about sexual deseases.My view about the king selecting a teenage during the ceremony procedures to be his wife gives others a good example of keeping virginity and what are the fruits for doing that.The reed dance is a good hope desire for men who wish to marry a woman he can trust for life time- awoman with a C.V comprising a self behaviour experience and references to asure and witness a clear virginity status of a woman.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    This has and will never be a Swazi Custom. The pictures are not of Swazis and were never taken in Swaziland But you might find true and factual answers in South Africa among the Zulus And Xhosas. Please report facts and do not manufacture information. Goodluck.

  10. Biplab Saha Says:

    The another name of a bitch is king Mswati.He is a black nonsense.He is not good than a bitch.

  11. Oscar Says:

    We can't see the pitures.
    Can you post them back ?
    Thanks

  12. Oscar Says:

    I would like to get the contacts of the blog owner and also request all images regarding Umlanga be sent to my email adress.
    Thank you

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Im surprised that with such fine cultural institutions Africa has remained such a backwater.

    Salieri