Maidens must cover up, says king

King Goodwill Zwelithini has expressed concern that the annual Reed Dance Festival might lose credibility if maidens continue showing up "half-naked", it was reported yesterday.

King Goodwill Zwelithini has expressed concern that the annual Reed Dance Festival might lose credibility if maidens continue showing up "half-naked", it was reported yesterday.

Thousands of maidens descend annually on the Enkonyeni Royal Palace in northern KwaZulu-Natal's Nongoma area for the festival - where "virginity tests" are carried out on maidens.

The king, who is busy celebrating his 60th birthday, said he was worried that maidens would attend the festival with their buttocks not properly covered.

"Traditionally, there is something which is used to cover their buttocks called an umuntsha.

"If they do not have that I kindly suggest that they buy sarongs to cover up," he said.

The king said he did not want any maiden to come to this year's ceremony without their waistlines being covered.

"There are times when maidens have to sing and dance and we end up seeing certain private body parts that we're not supposed to see," the king said.

The Reed Dance Festival will take place next month. - Sapa

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