The thirty-second annual reed dance ceremony at the Enyokeni Royal Palace has been hailed as a success as over 30 000 maidens participated in this year’s ceremony.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini lambasted organisations who criticised virginity testing, saying they need to stop talking about things they don’t know about.
The monarch also paid tributes to the maidens and their mothers who died in a bus accident three years ago.
Thousands of maidens gathered at the Enyokeni palace in KwaNongoma to participate in the reed dance ceremony.
Some of the maidens are already professionals and working in various sectors but they say they are proud of their culture and will continue being part of the reed dance.
Twenty something Nokuphiwa Ximba says, “I am a teacher by profession working in Gauteng and I am proud to be a Zulu maiden. It a choice of embracing your culture and teaching young girls it is possible to achieve all your goals in life and also be pure. I went through university without losing my virginity that shows our mothers equip us with life skills and be a resilient woman.”
One of the mothers looking after the maidens Doctor Nomagugu Ngobese the founder of Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation, says most of her maidens are adult women who take pride in participating in the reed dance.
Ngobese says her maidens are unapologetic about their culture.
“We are very proud of our maidens. They choose to remain pure and ensuring that those criticizing our culture are silenced. Most our maidens are professionals we are proud to be part of their lives journey. Reed dance is our culture and identity.”
KwaZulu-Natal Arts and Culture MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi says the drivers of all buses and other form of transport ferrying maidens back home, will be checked for alcohol before leaving the Enyokeni Palace in KwaNongoma.
“We have spoken with the Department of Transport to ensure that there is safety in all the transport that is transporting the maidens but what actually is going to happen as you have seen coming to the palace. there were road blocks, the same road blocks is going to be there tomorrow as children depart back home and we are expecting they will be safe. All the measures are in place to ensure they drive safe home.”
The monarch also lambasted those who criticize him for reviving the reed dance. He says those people never say anything when a number of girls are impregnated by older men.
“They cannot differentiate between any other ceremony with the reed dance even today we are still waiting for the Gender Commission and we invite the Gender Commission not to talk a lot about things they do not fully understand. They should come here and speak to you maidens during the reed dance and ask you since you always attend in numbers is there anyone forcing you to participate?”
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini urged the maidens to come in their numbers next year to participate in the reed dance ceremony to ensure their culture is preserved.