17 September 2001

Swaziland: King Imposes Five Year Sex Ban

Nhlangano, Swaziland — King Mswati III of Swaziland put a dampener on festivities at his 33rd birthday celebrations recently when he announced a five year sex ban for young maidens in the tiny mountain kingdom.

In a bid to reduce the soaring HIV/AIDS figures the king saw fit to announce the revival of the Umchwaso Chastity Rite before a 7000 strong crowd at the closure of his birthday celebrations in Nhlangano, southern Swaziland last Sunday (September 9).

Members of the Imabali YeMaswati (flower of the nation) howled in protest as their leader Lungile Ndlovo, speaking on behalf of the king, told them that they would be expected to wear 'don't touch me tassels' for the next five years.

"You will be expected to observe a five-year sex ban which means no shaking of hands with males, no wearing of pants and you will be expected to wear woolen tassels wherever you go," Ndlovu said.

"Girls of 19 and older who are already involved in a love relationship will be expected to wear red with black tassels while those who are still virgins will wear blue with yellow tassels," she added.

The king declared that any man who dares to touch a young woman wearing these tassels will have the tassels thrown at him and will be forced by the traditional courts to pay a fine of 1300 emalangeni (R1300) or one cow.

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