Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This is a short clip of the procession of "maidens" at the annual Umhlanga, or Reed Dance.

Here's what Lonely Planet has to say about Umhlanga:

"The Umhlanga (Reed Dance) serves to draw the nation together and remind the people of their relationshp to the king. It is something like a weeklong debutante ball for marriageable young Swazi women, who journey from all over the kingdom to help repair the queen mother's home at Lobamba.

After arriving at Lobamba, they spend a day resting, then set off in search of reeds, some not returning until the fourth night. On the sixth day the reed dance is performed as they carry their reeds to the queen mother. The dance is repeated the next day. Those carrying torches (flashlights) have searched for reeds by night; those with red feathers in their hair are princesses.

As the Swazi queen mother must not be of the royal clan, the reed dance is also a showase of potential wives for the kind...There are signs that identify the unchaste--an incentive to avoid premarital sex."

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