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Ilembe’s pure prepare for reed dance

The girls are invited to King Goodwill Zwelethini’s Royal KwaNyokeni Palace in KZN to celebrate their innocence from August 29 to September 4

Young maidens from the Ilembe district will be among the thousands of virgins who will take part in the annual royal reed dance festival in September, also known as Umkhosi woMhlanga.

The girls are invited to King Goodwill Zwelethini’s Royal KwaNyokeni Palace in KZN to celebrate their innocence from August 29 to September 4.

With vibrant spirits, the girls from the Ilembe district gathered at the Siyaya Emhlangeni ceremony in KwaDukuza last Saturday organized by the Ilembe municipality and the KZN Arts and Culture department.

The event was held to prepare the maidens for the royal reed dance, which was reintroduced in South Africa in 1991 by King Zwelethini as a way to reduce the spread of HIV and the number of pregnancies among young girls.

Nokuthua Smanye (17) who will be attending the ceremony for the third time said she could hardly wait.

“The ceremony celebrates young girls who are pure and that is important in our culture.

“It motivates young women to not sleep with men before they are married and to respect themselves and their families. It is a privilege to be invited to the palace.

“We get to meet other girls and make friends. We sing, dance and have a lot of fun, “ she said.

The ceremony sees maidens carry long reeds above their heads in a slow procession toward the palace, led by the Zulu princess. If a reed breaks during the

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