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Thousands of Imbali turn up for registration
By Nomfundo Dlamini THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Aug-2009
OVER 60 000 of Imbali regiment have registered to be part of this year’s Umhlanga Reed Dance at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.
The numbers are expected to rise as more girls were still registering by late evening yesterday.
Imbali yemaSwati leader Nothando Nhlengethwa has revealed that this year’s turn up is overwhelming. At about 2pm, Imbali had already started arriving for registration at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.
She also revealed that Imbali from the neighbouring South Africa would be joining the Swazi maidens for the event. “About 500 maidens from Mpumalanga as well as about 30 white maidens will be joining us for this years’ event,” said Nothando. Speaking during the first day of the event, Nothando said imbali had doubled its numbers as compared to last year.
“ It is exciting to see imbali turning out for umhlanga in such large numbers, it shows that they respect the King and the Queen Mother as well as love and preserve their culture. One can encourage Imbali to continue paying homage to Their Majesties,” said Nothando.
She also urged parents to allow their children to participate in the reed dance and assured them of safety of their children. When asked on what measures have been taken as it has since become common that this event coincides with the Swaziland International Trade Fair and the maidens usually skip the event and go to the trade fair, she revealed that measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of Imbali during the event.
“This year I have entrusted emakhosatana and tindvuna from the various chiefdoms with the task of preparing data for the imbali to verify if it is true that the imbali did infact arrive at the reed dance and are fully participating, such data will be used on a daily basis to ensure the presence of each and every imbali and security forces will be out in their numbers to ensure the safety of the maidens,” said Nothando.
She mentioned that she hoped that Imbali would continue to increase in numbers every year. “I hope that the numbers will continue to increase as there are improvements every year, this brings motivation.
Tradition and culture is our pride and joy, it brings out who we are and it tells a lot where we are from and, therefore, it is important that we preserve ourselves till the right time comes.
Without our culture we are nothing.”
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