The reed dance, which was the biggest since the COVID-19 pandemic, drew young girls from parts of KZN, the Eastern Cape and as far as Botswana.
Young girls at the annual reed dance in Nongoma – northern KZN. Photo: Xanderleigh Makhaza/EWN
NONGOMA – Thousands of young girls left the royal palace in Enyokeni on Sunday after a successful reed dance ceremony.
At least 50,000 young girls gathered over the weekend in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where the Zulu royal household hosted the annual Umkhosi Womhlanga.
[IN PICTURES] The 2022 Reed Dance in Nongoma, KZN
The event, which was the biggest since the COVID-19 pandemic, drew young girls from parts of KZN, the Eastern Cape and as far as Botswana.
[WATCH] Scenes at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma as thousands of young Zulu girls gather for the main stage of the annual Reed Dance – Umkhosi Womhlanga. @Xanderleigh_M #ReedDance #UmkhosiWomhlanga #eNyokeni pic.twitter.com/Tae3WN9mxa
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) September 17, 2022
This year’s Reed Dance Ceremony drew numbers that far exceeded expectations.
The provincial government and the royal palace originally planned for 7,000 maidens, but the final tally shows a total of 50,000 showed up.
Ngemuva kweminyaka emibili ungekho uMkhosi woMhlanga, izintombi nto ezibalelwa ku-50 000, eziqhamuka kuwo wonke amagumbi ezwe, zinikele esigodlweni saseNyokeni ukuyogubha lo mcimbi oqhakambisa ukuziphatha kahle kwezintombi. #umkhosiwomhlanga pic.twitter.com/mogVyXxGpa
— Provincial Governor of KZN (@kzngov) September 17, 2022
The day was filled with a showcase of Zulu culture through song and dance by young girls gathered at the palace to celebrate their womanhood.
Umkhosi Womhlanga, as the Zulu nation calls it, celebrates the purity of a young girl while preparing her for womanhood.
Its importance also lies in the fact that it promotes celibacy until marriage.
LILY: If the maiden carrying a reed is no longer a virgin, the reed breaks – ritual
Some high-level delegates also showed up to honor the ceremony, including police minister Bheki Cele and former KZN prime minister Sihle Zikala.
King AmaZulu Misuzulu Kazwelithini gave the opening speech, calling on young girls to lead by example.
Ingonyama Yezulu also lamented the scourge of GBV, while also noting the lack of unity within the royal household.
LILY: Back home, King Misuzulu on a note of reconciliation with his royal rivals
The proceedings ended on a high note as the young girls sang Amahubo as gray clouds hovered over the massive mountain in the background.
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) September 17, 2022