30th September 2019

Over 10,000 spectators from around the globe came to Eswatini to witness swazi maidens (imbali) display their dancing skills as the annual Umhlanga Reed Dance festival kicked off on a high note at the beginning of September.

The event was attended by girls of all ages, including those from the neighbouring South Africa (mainly from the KwaZulu-Natal Province) who took part to show solidarity to the historic event, while showcasing their positive moral values before visitors and the Kingdom’s authorities.

Guest speakers, from the first day of the event, interacted with the girls as they empowered them through inspirational lessons and song, speaking of what it means to be a responsible and virtuous woman. The girls are given a sense of pride, through this platform, knowing their worth and how to uphold high moral standards.

From across the four regions of the Kingdom, the girls form lasting relationships and learn from each other, which is a legacy long after the event has ended. They also talk about how they look forward to the next event. Notably, every year the girls bring to the occasion new songs all filled with inspirational messages and righteous living. Usually, the songs are composed in relation to what happens at the time.

Princess Temaswati during Umhlanga 2016

Visitors came from far off countries, some half way across the globe, such as the United Stated of America, Taiwan, Germany, and the Netherlands. Visitors also came from within the continent from countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, and many others from central Africa.

The Swazi Traditional Village, situated at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence was a focal point for visitors as they made a stopover for exploration. The Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) had set up their information desk at the village, welcoming visitors and offering the necessary information about the Kingdom, the Reed Dance, the rules and the etiquettes of the ceremony. Visitors were particularly intrigued by the small grass huts, which they could enter and photograph.

The main day of the Umhlanga Reed Dance ceremony saw a superb display of dancing skills, with maidens showing off their moves before their majesties, dignitaries and the nation. The Imbali, led by the reigning maidens’ leader, the King’s daughter, Princess Temaswati, received much appreciation from all those that attended to watch the ceremony. The Umhlanga Reed Dance ceremony, which remains unrivalled in the whole of Africa, is a truly beautiful traditional event that remains forever in the minds of those who come to attend it.

Source: KingdomofEswatini.com

Niyi David
Author

‘Niyi David is a travel writer/photographer and Editor-in-Chief at More Cream Than Coffee. Previously, he worked at Afro Tourism West Africa Ltd as a travel writer, and was Head of Media and C.O.O. before leaving in May 2018. Prior to that he had worked as scriptwriter on some major media projects in Nigeria, such as 'Peak Talent Show' and the Ford Foundation sponsored 'Stop Impunity in Nigeria' campaign.