Reed Dance festival 2011 { 23 images } Created 11 Sep 2011

KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and South African President Jacob Zuma today honoured Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini as the Zulu nation today observed the sacred Reed Dance festival today (Saturday, 10 Sept 2011).
More than 30 000 maidens carried the reeds to Enyokeni Palace as thousands more came to witness the event, including international tourists and representatives from royal families from across the continent. The maidens were led by Zulu Princesses into the Palace. The first reeds were handed to Isilo, who removed one reed from the fence which was brought by maidens last year and replaced it with a fresh one.
Dr Mkhize said this event is an entrenchment of African culture, which celebrates the purity of youth. "Through the promotion of this cultural practice, we have a platform to enable honest discussions about issues relating to sex and sexuality," said Dr Mkhize.
The celebration also saw the launch of a greening program by His Majesty and President Zuma. "We are going to see 30 000 trees being planted in the Zululand District as we are preparing to host the COP 17 conference in Durban later this month," said Dr Mkhize.
He said the tree planting program is aimed at teaching young people the importance of keeping ourselves and our environment pure.
Dr Mkhize also said this year's Reed Dance is even more significant as it comes during the celebrations of 40 years of King Goodwill Zwelithini's rule over the Zulu nation.
President Zuma congratulated the maidens who attended this year's Reed Dance, but said the battle is not over yet, as there is still a need to enforce the same kind of self discipline among boys.
"A maiden who has preserved her virginity has less chances of falling victim to teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections," said President Zuma, adding the challenge now is make sure that young men are mobilized under ibutho.
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