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By Simon Shabangu -THE SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Aug-2009

OVER 80 000 members of Imbali regiment were yesterday afternoon commissioned by His Majesty King Mswati III for the colourful Umhlanga cutting ceremony.

His Majesty, through Indvuna Yembali Nothando Nhlengethwa, directed the regiment to two different places where they will cut the reed. The young members of the regiment will go to Kabhamsakhe while the old ones went to Mphisi Farm.

Her Majesty the Indlovukazi also blessed the cutting of the reed by commissioning the girls who started at Ludzidzini Royal Residence before proceeding to Ngabezweni. The girls were in a jubilant mood when they left both Royal Residences as they sang and danced all the way.

Emakhosikati to His Majesty, cabinet ministers, members of the King’s Advisory Body and other dignitaries were also present to witness the commissioning of the regiment Inkhosatana Sikhanyiso was at the forefront with the Indvuna Yembali as they led in song and dance.

Meanwhile, Minister for Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Nsibandze announced that Zambian President Rupiah Banda was expected to take part in this year’s reed dance ceremony. The minister said the Zambian Head of State was expected to bring a delegation of 34 people.

“Another guest of note expected at this year’s event is the Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister who comes with a delegation of 10 people. We are also expecting the former President of Thailand while Philippine designers will be in the country to showcase their wares. A total of 40 cabinet ministers from the different countries in the SADC region are also expected,” he said. The minister urged the nation to continue with the good hospitality they were known for the world over. He said he was expecting the nation to treat the tourists in a manner that would make them want to come back and visit the country.

The minister also announced the arrival of 475 visitors from Telkom in South Africa. “Journalists from SABC 1, 2, 3 and Head of News from e-TV are also expected to join the nation in the event. We are also crossing our fingers to welcome stars from Generations,” added the minister when addressing a press conference before the commissioning of the girls at the tourism stand at

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