30 August 2016

South Africa: Thousands Expected to Attend Annual Reed Dance

Photo: IRIN
Participants in the annual Reed Dance (file photo).

Preparations are under way for the annual uMkhosi Womhlanga (Reed Dance) at eNyokeni Palace in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, the arts and culture department said on Monday.

Thousands of young women from all the province's districts as well as Swaziland, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng are expected to attend the dance from September 9 to 11.

The department and the Zulu Royal Household will use the event to educate young women about careers available to them and to discuss social ills affecting young people.

The young women will present their reeds to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on September 9 and 10 and he will deliver a speech on September 10, department spokesperson Lethukuthula Mtshali said.

The reed dance will be preceded by Umkhosi Womhlanga WaseNgwavuma on September 2 and 3, where Zwelithini is expected to accept reeds from young women in that area.

Tragic accidents

Last year, President Jacob Zuma's bodyguards had to whisk him from the ceremony at Enyokeni Palace after "demons" allegedly attacked the girls. According to a Mercury report, Zuma was escorted from a soccer field where he was meant to share the stage with Zwelithini in addressing them.

Last August, 38 young Swazi women were killed on the Mbabane-Manzini highway while on their way to cut reeds for the Umhlanga reed dance.

The Times of Swaziland reported that the accident involved two trucks carrying the girls, and a Toyota van. The first truck crashed into the Toyota van after traffic police had stopped it. The second truck then crashed into the first truck.

In 2013, 11 people, including seven girls, were killed when their bus crashed near Melmoth, on the R66. They had attended the annual Reed Dance in Nongoma and were returning home to uMzumbe, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

Source: News24

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