R4m for biggest reed dance to date

2010-09-12 20:20

Durban - More than 26 000 Zulu maidens turned out for Saturday's uMkhosi WoMhlanga (Reed Dance) held at King Goodwill Zwelithini’s eNyokeni Palace at KwaNongoma.

Government in KwaZulu-Natal is keen to use the reed dance and other institutions of the Zulu ­monarchy – which costs the ­province about R40m a year – to generate funds to ensure that it eventually becomes self-sustaining.

In his state of the province address, Premier Zweli Mkhize outlined a programme ranging from making the monarch’s farms more productive to drawing tourists to Zulu cultural events.

Yesterday’s event, the 26th of its kind, was the biggest in history, with government coughing up R4 million for the two-day ceremony, which was conducted under tight security.

The maidens were escorted ­during the 2km walk to eNyokeni by marshals and female guardians from the areas they came from and who accompanied them on the more than 100 buses ferrying them to the palace.

The grounds in which they camped overnight were fenced off and guarded by police and marshals. Access to the entire area was strictly controlled.

Last year a stampede claimed the life of one maiden and several others were injured, while another was abducted and raped at an ­after-party.

Government sponsors

This year promotions by alcohol (marketing) and other companies were banned outright in a bid to keep away ­unruly elements.

Vukani Mbhele, spokesperson for provincial arts and culture MEC Weziwe Thusi, said government had banned alcohol promotions to maintain decorum throughout following last year’s untoward ­experiences.

Only government departments and corporate partners who helped sponsor the dance had ­displays. Almost 100 food vendors plied their trade on the outskirts of the area where the maidens were encamped.

Traditional leaders from throughout KZN, the Eastern Cape and other parts of the ­country attended in numbers, seated in an enclosed VIP area outside the palace walls.

The 74 government-sponsored buses and 33 funded by the eThekwini municipality were parked in a massive fenced off area down the hill from the palace, while the VIPs’ 4x4s and luxury sedans were parked in a separate enclosure nearer the palace.

Mbhele was upbeat about the event’s future, which government sees as a major money-spinner for the regional economy at KwaNongoma and Ulundi in ­Zululand.

“This is the biggest reed dance in history and we are convinced that the event will get bigger and bigger. We have had massive ­interest both from international media and tourists who are keen to learn more about South African and about the way of life of the ­Zulu people.

Virginity testing

“We are convinced that in years to come the event will become ­bigger and draw an even larger ­international interest. This event has been massive and a sign of things to come.”

Thousands of maidens underwent virginity testing throughout the villages and towns in the ­province ahead of their arrival at the palace.

In a departure from previous years, maidens were also given life skills training ahead of the event, including lectures in moral regeneration and workshops on HIV/Aids prevention.

Samukele Khumalo, eThekwini municipality’s gender co-ordinator, said the city had mobilised about 6 000 girls through ward councillors and outreach programmes to attend the event.

“This is a very important event which helps young girls understand their traditions and culture and helps protect them from negative influences,” said Khumalo.

“Interventions like these help keep young girls away from drink and drugs and other negative things, especially when combined with life skills training,” she said.

Read more on:    king goodwill zwelithini  |  durban  |  culture

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.