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I did not say that - king

By unknown | Sep 15, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini has lashed out at the media, accusing them of blowing up a statement about maidens last month out of proportion.

The king had been widely reported as saying that maidens who take part in the yearly reed dance should "cover up".

He was also reported as saying that maidens should not expose their bodies by wearing the umutsha, (very short attire meant to cover the back and front) because it could cause the reed dance to lose its credibility.

He had also, it was imputed, said that there were times when maidens sang and danced and ended up showing "certain body parts that people were not supposed to see". The maidens were not to be allowed to continue showing "half-naked" bodies.

Zwelithini reintroduced the Reed Dance in 1984.

On Saturday the King attended the annual reed dance at his Enyokeni royal palace in Nongoma.

Addressing the thousands of bare-breasted maidens Zwelithini said he had been misquoted.

He said the media he been carried away and misinterpreted what he was saying.

He said the media failed to understand that urging pure girls to cover up simply meant they should make sure that they wear proper attire that shows respect.

"It only means respect your body and cover enough where you are supposed to cover," he said.

"What I meant was that there should be some sort of dignity in the manner in which maidens dress. I did not say they must not show their buttocks because being a proud Zulu maiden simply means that you must show your body, you must show that you are proud of your body."

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele expressed concern at the escalating number of young girls falling pregnant at school.

He said in 2006 more than 5000 pupils had fallen pregnant in KwaZulu-Natal alone, which he said was a "disgrace".

But he singled out Gauteng as the worst offender.

"Between January and August this year more than 10 000 pupils were pregnant in Gauteng," he said. "This is just not the way it should be and traditional ceremonies such as the reed dance can play a major role in curbing unwanted pregnancies."

Zululand district mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi urged that a person found guilty of raping a pure maiden be given a harsh sentence because he not only raped, but took away a girl's pride and left her with emotional scars.

ANC president Jacob Zuma, who received a hero's welcome, congratulated Zwelithini on reinstating the reed dance and urged that boys also be tested so they can grow up knowing how a man should behave.


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