The 2012 Swazi Reed Dance

The annual reed dance at the royal residence of Ludzidzini at Lobamba village near Mbabane, Swaziland

The annual reed dance at the royal residence of Ludzidzini at Lobamba village near Mbabane, Swaziland

This month we will be celebrating the beautiful femininity of African women in Africa. We will start with the much celebrated reed dance of a landlocked country bordering South Africa and Mozambique, the Umhlanga Reed Dance, which is a traditional dance and ceremony where up to 80 000 Swazi maidens gather and dance for the Queen Mother in the Southern African country of Swaziland.  This Swazi cultural event is performed as a  tribute to the Royal Family and dates back centuries in time. Taking place over a week, normally the last in August, it is largely private, however its final two public days (normally a Sunday and Monday) are a spectacle that is unrivaled in Africa today. The bodies of the black women represent the epitome of beauty. We at Ebony Erotic, are paying homage to African female beauty.

King Mswati lll and his daughter Princess Sikhanyiso take part in the traditional reed dance in Swaziland

King Mswati lll and his daughter Princess Sikhanyiso take part in the traditional reed dance in Swaziland

Thousands upon thousands of maidens dress up in brightly coloured attire and sing, dance together as they deliver the reed or umhlanga to the Royal Residence.  Their enjoyment of this ceremony is quite apparent as they use the opportunity of bonding with girls of similar ages from across the country.

Swaziland Reed Dance maidens African ebony

Swaziland Reed Dance maidens

As the maidens dance, warriors and other spectators often join the dance kugiya or throw money at their feet in appreciation of their skill. The King sometimes makes use of the occasion to publically court a prospective fiancee or Liphovela.  This young woman will be given a dominant position amongst the dancing princesses.  Unfortunately this particular feature often distorts media coverage of the event, which becomes obsessed with the polygamous nature of traditional Swazi society.

Swaziland Reed Dance maiden African ebony

Swaziland Reed Dance maiden African ebony

However, a traveller lucky enough to witness this event will appreciate its special purpose in bonding the nation, installing good morals (virginity is essential for attendance) and allowing rural girls to travel outside of their home areas. It is a massive logistical mission for the Swazi government, with food, water, transport and security concerns growing with each year…but Swaziland without Umhlanga is just not Swaziland.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso

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