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MBABANE - Although few in number than in previous years, the spirit was high among some Imbali from Mantabeni and Siphocosini who were awaiting to board transport to Ludzidzini Royal Residence to mark the start of the Reed Dance Ceremony.

The chilly weather prompted the Imbali to start a manageable fire at the Motshane Training Centre and continue to sing and dance, while waiting for other maidens from the various imiphakatsi. Around noon, about 40 maidens were found at the centre. This publication conducted interviews with some of the maidens who said no amount of fear instilled by some social media users would deter them from attending the Reed Dance.


Nonsikelelo Lushaba (22) from Siphocosini Umphakatsi, said it was her 14th year attending the Reed Dance Ceremony. Lushaba said she loved the culture, especially the traditional attire (imvunulo) and walking (kushuca). According to Lushaba, she attended both the Ludzidzini and Shiselweni Reed Dance. Welile Nhlabatsi (22) from Mantabeni Umphakatsi, said she would be cutting the reed for the 12th time this year. Nhlabatsi said there was a lot she had learnt during the ceremony, including how they should handle themselves as young girls. Also, she said she enjoyed walking (kushuca) as they got to mingle with other girls from across the country and outside the borders. Tebuve Dlamini, who is the Mangwaneni Inkhosatana, said she would not have missed the Reed Dance.

Dlamini said she looked forward to the Reed Dance because she loved culture and enjoyed the respect she was given by the maidens, which she reciprocated. Nompilo Dlamini, who is Mbabane Indvuna said they were ready, despite the challenges which were a result of the political tensions in the country. She said the crowds were very few, adding that the excitement and the event would not be the same compared to past years. She stated that she was happy with the turnout of maidens as she feared the worst, following the intimidation on social media platforms. Meanwhile, at Mpolonjeni Umphakatsi, only three maidens turned up. The maidens said they would join libutfo from other imiphakatsi.

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