Thirty maidens have made a three kilometres walk to the Enyokeni Palace, in Nongoma, north of KwaZulu-Natal, to present the king with placards calling for an end to gender-based violence.
This year’s annual reed dance was held virtually in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with most of the usual 20 000 maidens observing this day at their respective homes.
Instead of carrying reeds, the selected few carried placards, calling for an end to GBV, in line with the campaign against the scourge and other social ills.
The AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has welcomed the call, condemning the killing of women and children in the country.
Zweilithini says criminals are making a mockery of the law.
“The law prevents us from using our old methods of disciplining a man who has committed a crime here in KwaZulu. Criminals are making a mockery of the law the way they are being protected by the government. They go to jail but that doesn’t help the victims who have been abused and have lost their dignity because of these criminals.”
2020 Reed Dance ceremony held virtually:
Palesa Zwane from Dundee in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal is one of the young women selected to make the three-kilometre trek to Enyokeni Palace to present the king with the placards.
“In these 8 years, it has been quite an experience. There’s never a year where I say this year is just boring. Every year I feel as if I’ve learnt something. We get treated like VIPs people from all over the world come and embrace our culture. I’ve learnt a lot from the wise words of the king. He always motivates us,” Zwane explains.
“This year, some of us are going to the reed dance for the last time for different reasons in our lives. I’m one of those as I’m getting married soon. But what is important is for the maidens who could not attend to keep focus and continue with their studies. I’m asking them to remain virgins. Just because they could not attend the reed dance this year, it’s no excuse to misbehave; because they’re not doing this for anyone else but themselves,” urges another maiden Happy Manqela from Ngwelezane north. -Reporting by Nonhlakanipho Magwaza