Teens told to cover up for dance

2008-09-12 00:00

The time of the Amazulu Reed Dance, better known as Umkhozi womhlanga, held at King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Royal Palace in KwaNongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has come again.

But the preparations for this year’s event, which started today, have been met with a number of challenges from the government’s amended Children’s Act, several amakhosi and Zwelithini himself.

Almost everyone who has an interest in the spectacular annual event has been waiting to see how different it will be from previous ones, as Zwelithini made the demand that the thousands of young maidens, who started flocking to the palace from yesterday evening, cover certain parts of their bodies.

In addition, the Children’s Act was recently amended to criminalise virginity testing if it is applied to girls under the age of 16. Virginity testing is an integral part of the maidens’ preparation for the reed dance and it is believed that girls younger than 16 participate in the event.

Also, about 20 amakhosi from the Sisonke District Municipality threatened to prevent their girls from participating in the event if the government did not provide them with transport to northern KZN.

The event attracts tourists and journalists from all over the world.

“The excitement will be enhanced by the presence of a girl from Finland who will be participating,” said Traditional Affairs spokesman Vukani Mbhele.

But despite all the challenges, Mbhele, whose department is the main organiser of the reed dance, said it’s all systems go for today.

Mbhele said the king’s demand about the maidens’ dress will not dilute the excitement that comes from seeing thousand of girls carrying reeds, which they present to Zwelithini, who may then identify his newest queen, as is the custom.

“Isilo [king] just requested that the girls do not expose their private parts.

“He meant that when they dance, they shouldn’t open their legs and show their private parts. But they will still leave their breasts uncovered,” explained Mbhele.

Royal guards will be on the lookout for people taking pictures of the girls.

With regard to the criminalisation of the virginity testing of young girls, Mbhele said that only girls over the age of 16 participate in the event.

The department has hired 107 buses to transport more than 25 000 girls to the palace.

Teens from outside KZN and the country are also expected to participate. “Those who are from outside KZN will have to organise their own transport … ” said Mbhele.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
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.