IT WAS an emotional day for some of the maidens who were lucky to be chosen to attend the Umkhosi Womhlanga reed dance today.

 

Unlike the other years, today's reed dance that was held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, northern KZN, was only attended by 30 maidens.

 

They also didn't carry the reeds, but they held placards written: "I'm not next #enough is anough"

 

"My life matters fight domestic violence" and other messages against women abuse.

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Maidens carrying plug cards written different massages against women abuse and killings instead of reeds during Reed Dance Festival held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma north of KZN. Photo by Jabulani Langa

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Maidens carrying plug cards written different massages against women abuse and killings instead of reeds during Reed Dance Festival held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma north of KZN. Photo by Jabulani Langa

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Maidens carrying plug cards written different massages against women abuse and killings instead of reeds during Reed Dance Festival held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma north of KZN. Photo by Jabulani Langa

 

For some it was their very last one as they were now taking the next journey of their lives of becoming wives and starting their own families.

 

The Umkhosi Womhlanga is normally attended by thousands of maidens from across KZN and other provinces.

 

The maidens arrive at Enyokeni on Friday until they leave on Sunday but due to lockdown regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19, this year only 30 were chosen to attend the most loved festival that the Zulu nation prides its self with.

 

One of the maidens, Thokozani Ngcobo (29) from Howick in Pietermariztburg, said she feels so lucky that she was chosen to come to the Umkhosi Womhlanga this year.

 

She said its an emotional journey for her as this was the last time since she began in 2008.

 

"I was 16 years old when I started attending the Umkhosi Womhlanga. Now I'm ready for the next journey of my life. I'm ready because I knew that eventually I will have to become a mother and a wife," she said.

 

She said lobola has already been paid for her and next year, maybe by September, she will be getting married to her husband.

 

"I want to have two children. And if I get a daughter I will make sure that she too goes through this journey of being a maiden," she said.

 

Another maiden, Nokuthula Mtolo (22) from Howick in Pietermaritzburg, said she too is ready for the next journey of becoming a wife to her husband.

 

"I do have fear as I don't know what this next journey will bring for me. But I believe that I'm ready. I didn't plan to be a maiden my entire life. I had saved myself for the special man in my life who will one day merry me and he has come," she said.

 

Speaking to the maidens, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said the maidens who were selected represent thousands who are at home as they couldn't come to the festival due to lockdown regulations.

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King Zwelithini during Reed Dance Festival held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma north of KZN. Photo by Jabulani Langa

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King Zwelithini taking a plug card from his daughter Cebolabo Zulu during Reed Dance Festival held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma north of KZN. Photo by Jabulani Langa

 

"I asked for those who are going to get married because I want to give them a message that they should build their families properly," he said.

 

King Goodwill said: " I'm very proud of you. As you are here today for the last time I would like to say to you well done."

 

The king also pleaded with maidens that as women are being killed, they shouldn't walk alone.

 

"Dont walk alone because you will become victims to these men who are targeting women and killing them. And I also warn you to be careful of the men that propose love to you," he said.

 

The king said he is also hurt about the women who were found dead in Mthwalume.

 

"I send my sincere condolences to their families," he said.

 

The king pleaded with men to stand up and fight against those men who rape and abuse women.

 

"Its a disgrace that there are people who abuse and rape women. So I'm appealing that all men should stand up and fight against the abuse, killing and raping of women. People have turned to be so bad because the law doesnt allow for them to be beaten," she said.

 

The Zulu king also appealed to residents not to keep quite when they see that there are thieves who steal government money.

 

"The Covid-19 pandemic proved to us that there is money in the country, but the problem is that there are people who steal the money," he said.

 

The king also pleaded with residents to adhere to lockdown regulations.

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Amabutho attended Reed Dance Festival held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma north of KZN. Photo by Jabulani Langa