Sights and sounds from uMkhosi woMhlanga 2022

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eNyokeni Royal Palace in Kwa Nongoma northern KwaZulu-Natal was buzzing with beautiful Zulu virgin maidens at the weekend.

Nearly 50 000 Zulu maidens came to participate in the sacred ceremony called Umkhosi woMhlanga or Zulu Reed Dance.

Dressed in their beautiful traditional attire made out of colourful beads, bright short skirts and bare-breasted, the maidens were radiating happiness as they sang and danced.

Zulu Family spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu describes the ceremony as a prayer.

The ceremony started with Princess Lwazi Zulu leading the maidens from the gates of eNyokeni Royal Palace to a field nearly a kilometer away to go collect umhlanga (reeds) that they would later present to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.  They sang traditional songs and observed customary traditions that were not open to the public before stepping out.

The walk down to collect the reeds was long but joyous and filled with excitement as the maidens danced and sang the entire way.

#sabcnews pic.twitter.com/pLRODlqvj8

Despite scorching temperatures and exhaustion, the maidens wouldn’t let anything dampen their mood as they continued to sing and be jovial along the way.

WATCH: Some princesses from the royal house being accompanied by thousands of maidens as they ascend to the Royal Palace to handover the first of many reeds that will be delivered to the palace Today. #RoyalReedDance #UmkhosiWomhlanga #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/zmehlO9k1R

WATCH: The Zulu regiment, also known as Amabutho kaZulu gather and organise at the gate of Enyokeni Royal Palace as they prepare for the arrival of His Majesty, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini. #RoyalReedDance #UmkhosiWomhlanga #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/XvufdX24JU

And when the King finally emerged from the royal palace to receive the reeds from the maidens, loud cheers from the crowds could be heard. Women ululated.

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini #ReedDance #sabcnews https://t.co/Qmogbax4MC pic.twitter.com/zGuWde9bHT

After presenting their reeds to King Misuzulu, the maidens gathered in a field nearby in eager anticipation for the King to deliver his speech.

Amazulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini arrives and accepts reeds presented to him:

When King Misuzulu took to the podium to address the maidens, roaring cheers accompanied by ululating could be heard from miles away.

WATCH: An echo of cheers and applause as His Majesty, King Misuzulu is welcomed by scores of maidens to the auditorium. The king is set to give a keynote address to the young women. #UmkhosiWomhlanga #RoyalReedDance #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/Pxw1domhdK

2022 AmaZulu Reed Dance-Umkhosi Womhlanga at Enyokeni palace