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What the girls had to say

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By Nomfundo Dlamini - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Aug-2009

IT is once again the time of the annual traditional reed dance ceremony

IT is once again the time of the annual traditional reed dance ceremony where maidens from all corners of the Kingdom and beyond the borders converge at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence to pay homage to His Majesty King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi to celebrate being young Swazi maidens.

It is indeed a time when these maidens take pride in their culture as cultural values still play a major role in the way of life of Swazis.

Yesterday thousands of girls flocked into the Royal Residence where they registered, and indications are that this year’s reed dance ceremony will be even much bigger than the previous one. As usual, the girls were in high spirits - singing and dancing to traditional songs as they marched according to their different chiefdoms to register. This is what they had to say:

Philile Ntshangase (22) from Mkhwakeni

What is your name, age and where do you come from? I am Philile Ntshangase. I am 22 years old from Mkhwakweni. How many times have you attended the reed dance? Actually this is my first time Why did you decide to come for the event this year? As an Imbali YemaSwati this is where my pride is, besides at work every Imbali is expected to attend. I also take pride in being a Swazi maiden.

How do you feel about umhlanga? I feel very excited as I will learn a lot of things that I did not know and the fact that now I can do the traditional dance perfectly. What would you say to encourage other maidens to participate next year? I would like to urge them to come and join us; I would also plead with their parents to allow their children to participate in this event as they will get to learn a lot about our culture.

Bongiwe Mdluli (19) from Emlindazwe (Ezulwini) What is your name, age and where do you come from? I am Bongiwe Mdluli, I am 19 years old and I come from Mlindazwe. How many times have you attended the reed dance? Actually this is my eighth time Why did you decide to come for the event this year? The fact that I take pride in being a Swazi as well as to pay homage to Their Majesties and also to take part in this colourful event with other maidens and to socialise - is a reflection of my love for my culture.

How do you feel about umhlanga? This event teaches me to get along with other people as well as being independent. What would you say to encourage other maidens to participate next year? I would like to encourage them to come in their numbers and join us; it is fun to be here.

Tenele Mdluli (20) from eBuhleni What is your name, age and where do you come from? I am Tenele Mdluli, I am 20 years old and I come from Buhleni. How many times have you attended the reed dance? Actually this is my fifth time Why did you decide to come for the event this year? BM: I enjoy the long walk, singing and the running of course, besides I love my culture SO: How do you feel about umhlanga? BM: This event teaches me to preserve my self as a Swazi maiden and to stay pure until the right time comes. SO: What would you say to encourage other maidens to participate next year? BM: I would like to urge other maidens to come in their numbers and join us next year, they should ask for permission from their parents as I always kneel down in front of my mother and ask for permission.


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