Photos from cutting reeds

Cutting the reeds turned out to be pretty exciting after a long wait for the day to get started. The photos below show a bit of the march, the cutting, the preparing, the tying, and the posing with the reeds. All photos were taken by Kirby R. from


The princesses leading the parade.


I did not have a bush knife, so I had to break each reed.


Trying to bread the reed free.


It was a lot of work.


But I could still laugh at myself.


I had just cut open my pinky finger. Soon I had blood running down my arm.


I went in search of more reeds, which I found. But then I learned I could not use reeds that had not yet tasseled. I left the swamp with only four reeds.


Fortunately Noncedo with the help of one of the males watching my group cut about one hundred reeds. We were able to pick from this selection to get our bundles up to at least 15 reeds.


Selecting reeds.


We had to break off all leaves growing on the reeds.


Lindiwe showed me that each reed’s tassels needed to be in line.


She watched over me to make sure I picked off all of the green pieces.



Their tall size made the reeds tricky to work with.


We used ripped plastic bags to tie the reeds together.


Me and my reeds.


Team Luyengo and our reeds.


Talking to the reporter who later changed all my quotes.


The princesses leading the parade back home. They only cut one of the reeds in their bundles; the rest were cut by their assistants.


Singing and dancing and trotting with the reeds.

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

1 Response to Photos from cutting reeds

  1. Susan Kemp says:

    Thanks to Kirby for documenting this awesome experience for you and us!

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