By Simon Shabangu | 2020-09-06
HIS Majesty King Mswati III witnessed a brief dancing by a handful of Imbali who delivered the reed during a symbolic ceremony at Ludzidzini Royal Residence yesterday.
His Majesty cancelled this year’s Umhlanga Reed Dance Ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic which put paid to mass gatherings.
When announcing the cancellation of the massive ceremony, the King had said other means would be explored to bring the reed to the Royal Residence.
This was witnessed yesterday during a ceremony attended by about 100 maidens from all ages who took part in the brief ceremony.
Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, Emakhosikati LaMotsa and LaMahlangu, Emazinyane, members of the Royal family, Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini were also among the not so many people who joined Their Majesties to receive the Imbali.
The event that lasted for about two hours took off on a rather different note as the new normal requires that people wear face masks, sanitise and social distance, among the main precautions.
Teams from the ministry of health were on the ground ensuring that the Imbali sanitised the and were scanned for body temperatures before they could take part in the delivery of the reed.
Indvuna Nonduduzo ‘Zuzu’ Zubuko was at her usual best as she led the regiment together with Emazinyane Sibahle, Sakhi, Senti, Yenzi and Ezwe, who were all in a jovial mood as they sang and danced under the cover of their face masks.
The reed was fetched from three different areas, Mpisi Farm, KaBhamsakhe and KaGcina. This according to the Indvuna of Imbali, was done in close contact with health officials by a few maidens from various areas to ensure that all regulations were followed.
The reed dance is one of the biggest traditional ceremonies which attract scores of international visitors from all over the world. This year was a difficult one for the Imbali who are always looking up to this ceremony where they go all out to showcase their love of the culture by dancing before Their Majesties and throngs of visitors.
The ever creative Imbali regiment which was all masked highlighted that the regiment will indeed overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
Princess Sikhanyiso dons sicholo
Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Princess Sikhanyiso watched the Imbali from the sidelines together with members of the Royal family.
This was her first public appearance donning Sicholo, the head gear that distinguishes her from the Imbali regiment as she is now a mother.
The princess was, however, in her usual jovial mood as she was seen coming out in dance to appreciate the Imbali during the brief dance session.
She first came through to appreciate Imbali leader Nonduduzo Zubuko during her dance session and later joined her sister, Princess Sibahle, also known as Temashayina, who also showcased her dance skills before Their Majesties and few members of the Royal family present on the day.
The princess watched the Imbali together with Her Majesty the Indlovukazi as they frequently exchanged chats as the maidens displayed their dance skills during the brief ceremony.
King’s gifts for Imbali to be delivered at chiefdoms
His Majesty King Mswati III has presented the Imbali with the usual gifts (meat packages) which he commanded that it should be delivered to all Imbali around the country.
His Majesty said all deserving Imbali will receive the meat packages.
Speaking through Indvuna of Imbali Nonduduzo Zubuko, His Majesty said the gifts would be delivered at the various chiefdoms on dates to be announced.
He urged chiefdoms to be in touch with regional officers for arrangements as the gifts will be delivered on dates to be communicated.
“His Majesty wants every deserving Imbali to receive the gifts as they usually do during the reed dance under normal circumstances.
He commands chiefs to have a register of all Imbali who would have participated at the reed dance ceremony. The chiefs will be informed on the dates of the delivery of the King’s gift,” said the indvuna.
Minister of Home Affairs Princess Lindiwe urged chiefs to be in constant communication with the regional officers so that they know the dates when the gifts would be delivered at their respective chiefdoms.
“The King wants to ensure that all Imbali get the gifts, so chiefs are urged to make sure they do not miss out on the dates,” she added.
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