Security beefed up ahead of Reed Dance ceremony at eNyokeni Royal Palace

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Security has been beefed up ahead of the annual Reed Dance ceremony that will be taking place at eNyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, on n Saturday.

The Reed Dance ceremony is known as ‘Umkhosi WoMhlanga’ isiZulu.

This after some members of the royal family, who support the claim by Prince Simakade Zulu to the throne, said that it would be provocative to hold the ceremony at the Enyokeni palace.

More police units have been deployed to ensure that the Reed Dance is not disrupted.

Maidens to present the reed

Maidens from different parts of the country started arriving at Enyokeni Royal Palace on Friday night. They are expected to present their reeds to AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini on Saturday.

The ceremony was revived by the late King Goodwill Zwelithini in 1984 as a way to fight social problems facing young girls, including teenage pregnancy and HIV/Aids.

The ceremony is the culmination of regular camps, during which positive values are instilled.These include lessons on womanhood, how to value themselves, and becoming independent adults.

King Misuzulu is expected to address the maidens at the ceremony.

Tensions ran high on Friday 

Tensions ran high as over ten men, some of whom are members of the AmaZulu Royal family, disrupted an SABC News interview with the spokesperson of the faction of the royal family who supports Prince Simakade Zulu.

There have been disagreements since the start of the week between those supporting Prince Simakade and the official representatives of the Royal Household, over the use of the Enyokeni Palace at Nongoma for Saturday’s Reed Dance.

Prince Simakade claims to be the rightful successor to the throne.

The SABC was interviewing Prince Simakade’s spokesperson, Prince Mandlakapheli, about the conduct of police task force members at the palace on Thursday, when men interrupted and chased him away.

Prince Mandlakapheli says, “And then when you find the police they stormed the bedroom of the king, while the queen was sleeping, kicking the doors. And if you can think there is Princess Thulebeki, she was in the bathroom, but they kick the doors. And she had to come out with her skirt up to hide her breasts. What was it that they were looking for? And who sent them? It’s so disappointing and I don’t have enough words to express the pain that Indlokulu went through. Because we still believe no matter how bad the situation we have in the Royal House, we don’t think such things have to happen.”

Meanwhile, Prince Mandlakapheli says they won’t tolerate such actions.

“I won’t lie to you, if those people they are called the task force, we need to know who sent them. And we’re not going to take this one lying down. If we have to die protecting this throne, this palace, protecting this family, let it be so. We are not going to allow the people to use the state organs to advance a certain narrative or their intentions. Of which we don’t know what they are. So we need to know who they are.”

Spokesperson for King Misuzulu responds

The spokesperson of the AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, Prince Thulani Zulu, says members of the police had gone to Enyokeni Palace at Nongoma but Prince Simakade Zulu had already left before the arrival of the police and they were not there to remove him.

“I can tell you the Indlunkulu was worried about not about the presence of Prince Simakade but about the presence of security people who were there inside because we know the palace is under the custody of the SAPS. Now you can’t put private security when there’s SAPS. There should be at least an agreement. That was the worry of the police. So when the princes met the police they also spoke about that. And the police wanted to go and find out. In fact they were going to remove him.”

Meanwhile, Zulu assured parents that their children will be safe at Enyokeni Palace.

“We’re not worried. In fact its their right. If the parents feel their kids are not safe, they have a right to keep them at home. But we here, with the police, with all the stakeholders, we ensure a very conducive environment for Umkhosi Womhlanga to take place. It is going to be safe. But the parents may decide whatever, it doesn’t bother whether they are there or the parents decide to keep them. It’s their right. But here at Enyokeni things are going very well. There will be safety and security.”

Traditional Prime Minister of the AmaZulu nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has issued a statement on the venue for the Reed Dance.

He says, “On behalf of His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, I wish to confirm that the Annual Reed Dance Ceremony will take place as scheduled tomorrow, 17 September 2022, at Enyokeni Royal Palace. Any statements or rumours to the contrary are not accurate and should be ignored. His Majesty looks forward to welcoming members of the Zulu Nation at Enyokeni Royal Palace tomorrow morning.”

Authors: Nonkululeko Hlophe and Fanele Mhlongo