70,000 virgin maidens to dance for Swaziland’s King Mswati III at the Ludzidzina Palace!
girls dance for
JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 1 (Xinhua CHINAVIEW) — Tens of thousands of virgin maidens danced Monday for Swaziland’s King Mswati III in a traditional reed dance at Ludzidzini palace outside the capital Mbabane, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported.
The final day of the annual dance attracted a record 70,000 girls, some of them as young as six years of age.
The girls — dressed in colorful Swazi regalia — came from all corners of the mountain kingdom in a display of pride in their culture and virtue.
The ceremony has a more serious mission — to draw attention to AIDS and encourage abstinence among young women, in a small southern African nation ravaged by AIDS and poverty, according to the SAPA report.
Swaziland has one of the highest AIDS prevalence rates in the world, with almost 40 percent of adults affected, according to UN data.
“As a young Swazi woman, it is very important for me to be here. I have been attending the dance since I was 14 years of age,” university student Landile Hlongwa, 24, was quoted as saying.
King Mswati has 13 wives, and he could pick another from among the dancers, according to the report.
In 2005 the monarch triggered an outcry when he selected a 17-year-old to be his 13th wife just days after he ended an official ban on sex for girls younger than 18.
This year’s ceremony precedes a controversial “40-40″ celebration to mark the impoverished kingdom’s 40 years of independence from Britain as well as the king’s birthday.
That much-anticipated event has touched off unprecedented demonstrations against international shopping trips by the royal family and the purchase of luxury cars at a time when most Swazis live in poverty, according to the report.
The lavish celebration takes place Saturday, Sept. 6th.
RASTA ROW SHAKES SWAZI ROYALS
The Rastafarian Movement Originated In Jamaica
A row has broken out in the royal family in Swaziland about Rastafarian members of the royal household.
King Mswati’s aides have evicted six young men, including the king’s nephew, for wearing dreadlocks and, allegedly, for smoking marijuana in the royal residence.
Royal sources say the order to evict the men was made by King Mswati on Wednesday after they made abusive utterances against him.
But the men deny the allegations against them and say that the real motive for their eviction is to prevent them gaining access to the king.
They want to pass to the king a message from God they say they received in a dream.
The father of one of the men, Prince Sulumlomo, has condemned the eviction and is reported to have sought an urgent meeting with King Mswati, who is his younger brother, over the eviction order.His son, Prince Bhamela, and the five other men, have been ordered not to set foot inside the Ludzidzini royal palace and in any of the royal residences because of their Rastafarian beliefs.