The Annual Zulu Reed Dance has been held successfully with over 45,000 Zulu maidens going through virginity testing in their districts in attendance.
The rite started at the Enyokeni palace of King Goodwill Zwelithini on Friday September 8, aimed at ensuring that the virgins remained pure, and safe from unwanted pregnancies or STDs.
Virginity testing (ukuhlolwa kwezintombi ), an ancient Zulu tradition was largely neglected by previous Zulu kings until it was revived by King Zwelithini in 1984.
Before embarking on the annual trek to Nongoma‚ the maidens have to be tested by elderly women days before the pilgrimage to Enyokeni or to the Swazi Queen Mother’s Eludzidzini residence.
Those who pass the test take pride in their status and are lauded by their community as izintombi nto‚ pure maidens.
Here are photos from the ceremony;