Maidens from across SA celebrate purity

2012-09-03 00:00

AN estimated 10 000 maidens turned out for the uMkhosi woMhlanga (Reed Dance) at Enyokeni Palace, outside Nongoma, on Saturday.

The maidens came from around KwaZulu-Natal, including Pongola, Paulpietersburg and Dundee, as well as from Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

The event was hosted by the Arts and Culture Department.

Addressing the maidens, King Goodwill Zwelithini emphasised the need for the women to remain virgins until they married.

Emergency, traffic and security agencies monitored the three-day ceremony, which ran from Friday to Sunday. The main, public spectacle was held on Saturday. This included a walk by the maidens to the Royal Palace, where they laid down their reeds and then walked past the King and assembled amakhosi and other dignitaries.

The event was attended by dignitaries from other countries, including Swaziland and Lesotho, and a delegation from the U.S. embassy.

Lodges and resorts around Ulundi and Nongoma reported that they had been fully booked for the weekend. A small number of tourists were allowed into the royal kraal where the ceremony took place.

The traditional ceremony, held annually early in September, is meant to celebrate female purity. The maidens taking part have to be virgins.

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