Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Swazi land King Reeds Festival

Ncwala - Festival of the First Fruits - Traditional ceremonies are an integral part of Swazi life, despite the advent of modernization. The most important of these is the sacred Ncwala or Festival of the First Fruits. This is essentially a Kingship ceremony, held to renew the strength of the King and the Swazi Nation for the coming year. Ncwala is held in December/January of each year
Umhlanga - The Reed Dance - Another major ceremony is Umhlanga or the Reed Dance which is held at the end of August or early September. The Reed Dance ceremony is for unmarried maidens to pay homage to the King and Queen Mother. The Maidens set out to collect reeds from selected areas which are then used to repair the Queen Mother’s home. (Because of abuse of pictures of the bare breasted Swazi maidens, cameras are not allowed at the Reed Dance and Festival of the First Fruits cermonies anymore.)
Ruled by King Mswait III, the last absolute African monarch, Swaziland has one of the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, about 35-40% of its population. Swazi people face a startling life expectancy around 31 years of age.It is also one of the poorest country in Africa where people face starvation and poverty, GDP per capita was $5,500 (estimated in 2005), 34 per cent of the population are unemployed. 69% of its Swazi people live with less than us$1 a day.
Most people know Swaziland for the Reed Dance, but with a population of under a million, the Kingdom of Swaziland is tucked in between South Africa and Mozambique. Mountains, lush forests and fertile valleys combine to take visitors on a scenic tour of wonder through the "Switzerland of Africa”.
Access to Swaziland can be made through any of twelve border posts or the centrally located Matsapha Airport with all four corners of the country accessible by tarred road. The capital Mbabane, legislative capital Lombamba and the industrial hub of Manzini, are sophisticated business centers contrasting sharply with the laid back tranquility of the outlying areas.

Swaziland - independent since 1968 - is one of the only three monarchies left in Africa. Led by His Majesty, King Mswati III, the nation is steeped in tradition and committed to safeguarding its culture, social and natural heritage for future generations.
Kenya Minister for Housing adressing the Diaspora in th UK