mercredi 5 septembre 2012

Swaziland: 60,000 topless virgins parade before the king.

 
The Reed Dance or "Umhlanga", attended Monday, September 3, 2012 tens of thousands of young Swazi the very bare beauty, is one of the most vibrant African traditions, but now hostage to a king challenged .
         Long hours, responsorial songs that accompany the dance have resonated at the royal residence of Ludzidzini, the highlight of the annual festivities that captured the imagination, and also shocked by the habit by his majesty Mswati III until 2004 to choose a new wife (he has 13 in total) of these young virgins topless.

For men in December.

         Transported by the truckload, they would be more than 60,000 this year, according to the authorities, which tend to inflate the numbers. The Umhlanga knows its male at the full moon of December, when it was the turn of the young men of the kingdom of praising the king.
         If success is assured in a small country of one million people with little distraction, the charm of this liturgy begins to be broken as a result of the political and economic crisis.

 Why should I serve the king?


         "I used to go there when I was a teenager. I loved being at camp, away from the house with almost all the girls in my house, and the day of the dance, I was at the forefront , all this attention, I loved it,
"says Khosi, now leaking any advertisement and will not be identifiable.
         This 24 year old student began to see things from a different perspective attending the University, measuring the difficulty of obtaining a scholarship or attend classes at scheduled times.
         "The Umhlanga express our loyalty to the king and I thought to myself, why should I serve the king? Even today, it is silent on the crisis in education,"
she said.
         The failure of public services in this paradise traditions affects all areas according to her: "We find almost anything in the hospital, not even basic antibiotics, the cough syrup, or an anti-venom for bites Snake in rural areas. "
         The public health system is, however, crucial in a country with high poverty, where 26% of the population is infected with the HIV virus, a record.

"The king  used it to show support for the people"

         "But people do not make the connection between the problems and the political system,"
sighs Khosi, his grandparents are concerned about the demonstrations that shook the kingdom since 2011. She has already spent several hours in a police station in April 2011.
         "The dance is growing every year. The king is used to show support for the people and for progressives to get mad,"
she said.
         The royal palace, a 79-year old Swazi, Bulunga confirms that she has never seen such a crowd of girls and young girls, baby three years to thirty years: "From the time of Sobhuza II [father the king] it was not so many. "
        
The atmosphere is festive. The days before the dance, the surrounding roads offer the spectacle of these women and children returning from reed cutting for the origin of the tradition to pay tribute to the Queen Mother and the maintenance of its properties.

"Tackling á the reed dance is a lost cause."


         Thelumusa Hlophe, 18, is delighted: "I made new friends,"
she said, confiding that she "loves the King" and is proud "to dance in the nude, while readjusting the modestly'' umgaco 'pompom scarf wool red, yellow and blue encircling her chest and signs, says she, her' virginity '. "
        
The opposition PUDEMO (forbidden) denounced in a statement, "a stress relief for the poor as opposed to a real process to find solutions to substantive issues."
        
But to tackle the reed dance for criticizing the king and the lack of multi is useless, says a father, Simphiwe Mngometulu, 35.
         "If you think it will solve the economic crisis by forbidding her daughter to go to the reed dance, it can not walk,"
he said.
         "But they should not justify their mistakes with the tradition,"
he says, denouncing the patronage of the King family.
         "They use tradition we do not ask because in our tradition, it is wrong to question."

Source AFP

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