By Simon Shabangu | 2020-12-27
HIS Majesty Ingwenyama has commanded that only 15 Ingaja from each chiefdom will be attending Incwala this year.
This is an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has entered its second wave. As per an announcement delivered by Indvuna yeMajaha, Lutfwacula Fakudze, the Ingaja is expected to convene at their respective royal residences for medical examination. This will be specifically testing for the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein they will only be allowed to partake if they test negative for the virus.
This means that there will be a massive decrease in the number of Ingaja cutting the Lusekwane this year. Calculations indicate that from the 385 chiefdoms within the 59 Tinkhundla Centres, there will be slightly above 4 700 Ingaja in attendance this year. Under normal circumstances, over 100 000 Ingaja attend the ceremony where they get to celebrate their youth and also show love for their culture.
Indvuna Fakudze said this year would be different, as strictly 15 Ingaja from each chiefdom was expected to attend.
He said this was an attempt by Their Majesties to keep the Ingaja safe from the pandemic, while ensuring that the Incwala ceremony is also conducted as it is an important part of Emaswati. He said even the 15 would be tested and cleared of the pandemic before they could be allowed to attend.
In the announcement, Fakudze urged community leadership to ensure that they select the Ingaja and have them gathered at their respectful royal kraals. The Ingaja will then assemble at their nearest royal residence before proceeding to Ngabezweni Royal Residence, where they will be commissioned by Ingwenyama for the cutting of Lusekwane.
He said the various chiefdoms would be sending the Ingaja to the nearest royal residence being Buhleni, Mpumalanga, Mbangweni, Ngabezweni and Ludzidzini.
Meanwhile, massive rapid testing continues at the respective royal kraals as no member of the public is allowed to join the Incwala without testing for COVID-19. Health officers are deployed in the various residences, where they test the public. Security personnel from the three forces are also in strategic positions to ensure that no one gets to join the Incwala without the armband, which proves that one has been tested and came out negative.
Sigombeni blasts social media
Meanwhile, Sigombeni Dlamini, well-known as Qethuka has come out to condemn those using social media spreading lies about the Incwala ceremony.
He said they were doing this through spreading negative information about people having tested positive at the Incwala ceremony, even those that have not been found to be positive.
He said this was an effort to discredit the Incwala ceremony by spreading lies to the effect that certain people are positive, while others have died. He said some social media have written that he was among the people close to King who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Since the beginning of the Incwala I have been well, never missed a day and never tested positive as some have indicated.
I must say that such behaviour is disturbing, especially because we are here to join the King in doing this important ceremony.
People are undermining the importance of the Incwala ceremony, yet there a many benefits that come out of the country for hosting this ceremony,” he said.
Dlamini, in an interview at Buhleni Royal Residence on Christmas Day, expressed his disappointment at this action, stating that the perpetrators of misinformation must be taken to task.
“The law must take its course on these people, especially because there is a law that can be used to take them to task.
It is very disturbing to note that people have become so disrespectful even to royalty.
Incwala is one of the most important ceremonies in the land which the King himself inherited from the previous King. There is no way he can abandon it, hence there are measures put in place to ensure that it continues while the people’s health and safety are also taken to consideration,” he said.
He said it was disturbing to note that there are people who are out to tarnish this important ceremony to the people of Eswatini.
“People must just stop spreading lies about the people at the Incwala because Ingwenyama has made it a point that all the necessary protocols are followed to ensure people’s safety,” he added.
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