Wednesday photo: Umhlanga

The Reed Dance, Swaziland’s most famous cultural event, is a week-long celebration of young females, called flowers. This year there were 98,000 participants, about 1/12 of the country’s population. Any female up to the age of about 22 can participate as long as she has not given birth. 

wp-umhlanga

One of the best coordinated groups of girls. They are bowing to the king.


The participants were lined up as if for a parade and marched like a marching band, although most did not do such a great job of guiding to the right to keep their lines straight.

Some participants wore the indlamu, the skirt seen in the photo, while others wore sidwashi, the traditional brown fabric lihiya. Some carried machetes or sticks. All sang and danced and stomped their feet. 

Babe said I can dance next year with my bosisi. I think I need to start practicing the footwork now. 

This entry was posted in Africa, Peace Corps, Swaziland, Tradition, Wednesday photo and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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