Delivering the reeds was everything I wanted and more. You can read about that day here. I finally got the 1500 photos from day six and day seven, so here are the best ones from delivering the reeds. Please note that Swazi traditional wear for Umhlanga involves being bare-chested, which is reflected in some of these photos. All photos were taken by Kirby at www.whatiskirbydoing.com.
Walking from the camping grounds to the parade grounds. We were singing about an escaped cow.
Waiting in line to drop off our reeds.
The 80,000 participants waiting to parade.
The president of Zambia Edgar Lungu and King Mswati III arriving.
The elder noble females opening the parade. On the left of front line with lots of regalia and a sword is Nonduduzo, the leader of the maidens. She is not a member of the royal family and will keep this role until she marries. The eldest princess Sikhanyiso is carrying the staff in the center with the orange decorations. The king’s newest bride-to-be is to her left with the light blue and white decorations.
One of the well-organized groups.
Participants were asked to wear the livadla, a skirt of colored strings, like the participant on the left. Some participants still chose to wear the indlamu, the short navy blue or black skirt with studs and the heavy pompom-like decorations the maidens in the front row of this group are wearing.
Another excellent group with members of the royal family wearing the red feathers. This group was right before mine, so people did not pay much attention to us.
Close-up of the indlamu outfit.