Swaziland: 38 Youngsters Die in Accident As They Traveled To Dance Competition

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Swaziland Beautiful Girls on Umhlanga Reed Dance Day 2014..At least 38 young girls diedlast month coming to the dance festival

About 40  young girls have lost their lives in a ghastly accident in Swaziland as the youngsters traveled to take part in a yearly dance event competition in one of the country major cities. They were traveling to take part in the popular Umhlanga reed dance ceremony.

The youngsters lost their lives in a massive traffic pile-up as three vehicles were involved in a head-on collision.

The accident left another 20 injured and fighting for their live when two trucks collided with another third vehicle on a major as the vehicle traveled from Swazi city of Mbabane and Manzini.

 According to a statement issued to denounce the attitude of the authority which ordered the tragic news not to be carried by News media, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said that road  was a avoidable tragedy as it was unthinkable that humans could be carried on back of trucks as the girls were reported to be at the back of the trucks as they were enthusiastic about appearing on the traditional dance competition. The organisation expressed displeasure as the authority remained tight-lipped over the tragedy.
“The loss of life was avoidable,” the rights group said in its statement, adding: “To begin with, carrying people in trucks violates traffic laws.”
The solidarity group went on to call for the abolition of the annual traditional Dance, Umhlanga reed dance ceremony, urging the  Swaziland’s royal family to help in the burial of the dead youngsters.
The group claimed that as many as 50 girls were being transported on one of the trucks, which had a head-on collision with a Toyota van.
Th group also frowned at the The Swazi authorities for not making information on the accident available to the public and International community.
According to some local  news reports, the  police and local media had instruction to black-out news on the incident.

One of the victims, 19 year-old Nomcebo Sikhondze, had dreamt of becoming a top doctor in her future plans and tragically met her untimely death in the accident as the girl from Vikizijula Royal Kraal, was one of the young women who died on their way to the Swazi reed dance.
Nomcebo was among the 13 victims of the accident buried during a mass funeral last weekend.
Richard Sikhondze, her uncle, remembers her unforgettable smile. “Even if you were mad at her, the minute she smiled you melted. She didn’t like my job as a taxi driver and wanted to study to become a doctor and take care of the family…

Umhlanga reed dance is Swaziland’s best known cultural event, and has a more open feel than the Incwala. In this eight-day ceremony, young girls cut reeds, present them to the Queen Mother (Indlovukazi) – ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence – and then dance in celebration. Up to 40,000 girls take part, dressed up in brightly coloured attired – making it one of the biggest and most spectacular cultural events in Africa.

The proper festivities kick off on day six, when dancing gets under way in the afternoon. Each group drops their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters then moves to the main arena, where they dance and sing their songs. The dancing continues on day seven, when the king is present. Each regiment dances before him in turn.

Little can prepare you for the sheer scale of the pageantry, with column upon column of girls advancing like vast ululating centipedes across the parade grounds of Ludzidzini, each dissolving in turn into the pulsating mass of bodies around the royal kraal. Up close, it’s an almost overwhelming immersion in noise and colour, as the girls stamp, sing and sway in step, anklets rattling, naked flesh and dazzling costume blurring into a living, chanting kaleidoscope. The warrior escorts, adorned with cow tails and clutching knob-stick and shield, are sternly intent on their duties and seem contemptuous of tourists, but the girls are all smiles. It’s Swaziland’s biggest holiday and, after days of tramping the hillsides, cutting reeds and camping out, they’re determined to party.

Today the Umhlanga is as well attended as ever. Indeed cultural historians marvel at how its ever-increasing popularity in Swaziland defies the apparent decline of traditional culture elsewhere. It offers the visitor a unique experience. There are no special visitor arrangements – except for a special grandstand to accommodate visiting dignitaries – but simply turn up at Ludzidizini and follow the crowds. Police will direct you where to go, and where to park. Officially, permits are required for photography.

The event takes place around the last week of August / first week of September. The dates for the event are released relatively close to the time as they derive from ancestral astrology.

The Festival is set to start on the 25th of August, with the main day (Day 7) set to take place on Monday 31st AugustThis is Swaziland’s best known cultural event, and has a more open feel than the Incwala. In this eight-day ceremony, young girls cut reeds, present them to the Queen Mother (Indlovukazi) – ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence – and then dance in celebration. Up to 40,000 girls take part, dressed up in brightly coloured attired – making it one of the biggest and most spectacular cultural events in Africa.

The proper festivities kick off on day six, when dancing gets under way in the afternoon. Each group drops their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters then moves to the main arena, where they dance and sing their songs. The dancing continues on day seven, when the king is present. Each regiment dances before him in turn.

Little can prepare you for the sheer scale of the pageantry, with column upon column of girls advancing like vast ululating centipedes across the parade grounds of Ludzidzini, each dissolving in turn into the pulsating mass of bodies around the royal kraal. Up close, it’s an almost overwhelming immersion in noise and colour, as the girls stamp, sing and sway in step, anklets rattling, naked flesh and dazzling costume blurring into a living, chanting kaleidoscope. The warrior escorts, adorned with cow tails and clutching knob-stick and shield, are sternly intent on their duties and seem contemptuous of tourists, but the girls are all smiles. It’s Swaziland’s biggest holiday and, after days of tramping the hillsides, cutting reeds and camping out, they’re determined to party.

Today the Umhlanga is as well attended as ever. Indeed cultural historians marvel at how its ever-increasing popularity in Swaziland defies the apparent decline of traditional culture elsewhere. It offers the visitor a unique experience. There are no special visitor arrangements – except for a special grandstand to accommodate visiting dignitaries – but simply turn up at Ludzidizini and follow the crowds. Police will direct you where to go, and where to park. Officially, permits are required for photography.

The event takes place around the last week of August / first week of September. The dates for the event are released relatively close to the time as they derive from ancestral astrology.

The Festival is set to start on the 25th of August, with the main day (Day 7) set to take place on Monday 31st August

Sources- NewsTimeAfrica(NTA)

and thekingdomofSwaziland.com