from SAMBULO DLAMINI in Mbabane, Eswatini
MBABANE – A HIVE of colourful activity will soon descend upon Eswatini when the Kingdom hosts its biggest cultural event.
The Eswatini Tourism Authority confirmed the “Umhlanga” or Reed Dance will start on August 30.
The main day will be September 5.
During the main ceremony, King Mswati III attends, signalling a public holiday in Eswatini.
Umhlanga is a centuries-old tradition where the Kingdom’s unmarried and childless females present their newly cut reed to the Queen Mother to protect her residence.
On the main day arrives, young women from all over Eswatini and beyond its borders converge on the royal residence in Ludzidzini.
Maidens gather in groups and head out along riverbanks to cut and collect tall reeds, bind them and return to Ludzidzini, the Royal Homestead in Lobamba.
By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother, the Ndlovukati (she-elephant).
The popularity of the festival among locals and tourists is hailed for defying the apparent decline of traditional cultures elsewhere in Africa.
It is the second time the Umhlanga will be held in the era of the COVID-19.
The 2020 edition was cancelled because of the pandemic.
– CAJ News