All roads led to Enyokeni for the 33rd annual Umkhosi Womhlanga (reed dance) on the 8th September 2017. A total of 4 buses carrying maidens from eMadlangeni Local Municipality who were going to participate in this year’s reed dance departed from Utrecht to His Royal Highness King Goodwill Zwelithini’s palace in Enyokeni.

This event was attend by national and provincial leadership, traditional leaders, farmers and over 1000 delegates from China who all came to witness this amazing experience of the reed dance

The maidens procession was led by His Royal Highness King Zwelithini’ s daughter, Princess Cebolenkosi Zulu who was the first one to hand over her reed to the king. The King then delivered the keynote address to the maidens where he encouraged the maidens to be optimistic about the future because it lays in their hands as the new generation of the country.

His Royal Highness condemned the recent killings of young women and requested the maidens to be careful about what they put on social media because that is where most of these perpetrators spot them. He discouraged teenage pregnancy and denounced the mentality of falling pregnant in order to access the social grant from government because that money is not even enough to sustain a child on its own. He encouraged the maidens to stay in school and obtain an education so that they can grow to be responsible citizens with a meaningful contribution to the country. His Royal Highness encouraged the maidens to embrace and celebrate their culture with pride and dignity.

eMadlangeni Mayor, Her worship Cllr LY Mhlungu, addressed the eMadlangeni delegation of maidens and expressed her pride to be associated with such vibrant, smart and beautiful young women who embrace and take pride in their culture. She implored them to pay no mind to peer pressure or criticism and ridicule from their peers for participating in the reed dance as this is nothing to be ashamed of. She was excited and honoured by the King’s request that the Amajuba District delegation of maidens accompany one of the princesses during her umemulo celebrations on that day.

eMadlangeni Cllr HM Mthethwa who was also in attendance took the opportunity to address the eMadlangeni delegation of maidens where he encouraged them to embrace and uphold their precious purity until marriage. He further pleaded with the maidens to carry on participating in the reed dance and cautioned them against falling in the trap of transactional relationships with older men who take advantage of young women. He ended his address by discouraging alcohol and drug abuse and implored the maidens to focus more on education which will give them a better future.

Talking to one of the maidens from Waaihoek area about her reason for participating in the reed dance. She said that this is a way for them to come together as young women and engage in something constructive rather than going out and drinking or attempt into sexual activities. She expressed her pride in embracing the isiZulu Culture.