Press Esc to close

Participation of Indian-origin girls in Zulu fest sparks row

Johannesburg, Sep 7, 2013, (PTI) : 19:02 IST
File wikipedia image for representational purpose only

A controversy has erupted over Indian-South African girls participating in a traditional spring ceremony in which young women parade before the Zulu King to confirm their commitment to remaining chaste before marriage.

A group of Zulu maidens who took part in the Royal Reed Dance Festival last week have rubbished the idea of opening the annual event to other races, saying that this would dilute the value of the ceremony.

They accused King Goodwill Zwelithini of giving preferential treatment to Indian and white maidens while paying scant attention to people who have been the backbone of the event since it was revived 29 years ago.

The King and several local Indian leaders close to him announced after last week's ceremony that the festival would be open to all races in future.

Prominent businessman and philanthropist Vivian Reddy, who accompanied a group of Indian girls to this year's ceremony, said they planned to bring many more girls next year.

In the ancient ceremony, which was revived three decades ago by Zwelithini, hundreds of young Zulu maidens from across South Africa march in scanty traditional clothing and most of them bare-breasted, to present a reed to the King at his palace in Zululand, north of Durban.

But the Indian girls, most of them wearing saris and some of them traditional embroidered Zulu items, did not bare their breasts, raising the ire of some Zulu young women.
A group of Zulu women from Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation in Pietermaritzburg objected to the participation of the Indian girls and one white British national.

They claimed that a serious cultural ceremony was being made out as a fun event by girls from other races.

"Indian and white girls should first believe and respect our traditional religion. They should go through virginity testing and they should dress like all maidens," the organisation told the daily The Star.

Sihawu Ngubane, professor of Zulu at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, agreed, saying the festival could lose its cultural identity.

Part of the process is certification of their virginity by older tribal women as they advise young Zulu girls in their preparation for womanhood.

However, the Zulu royal family said it would not force girls from other cultures to go through virginity testing or to wear traditional attire as that was not part of their culture.

Go to Top

Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
A farmer burns the residue of her sugarcane crop at her farm on a cold foggy morning...

A farmer burns the residue of her sugarcane crop at her farm on a cold foggy morning...

Kite-enthusiasts display a kite with an image of Kulbhushan Jadhav during International Kite...

Kite-enthusiasts display a kite with an image of Kulbhushan Jadhav during International Kite...

Honey bees visit a flower near Vijay Chowk area in New Delhi...

Honey bees visit a flower near Vijay Chowk area in New Delhi...

A squirrel eats corn grains on a cold winter morning in Bhopal ...

A squirrel eats corn grains on a cold winter morning in Bhopal ...

Jawans near the coffin of late Head Constable A Suresh, who was killed in a ceasefire violation...

Jawans near the coffin of late Head Constable A Suresh, who was killed in a ceasefire violation...

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar and actor Rekha pose for a picture...

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar and actor Rekha pose for a picture...

Actor Sunny Leone gives her measurement for her wax statue to be displayed at Madame Tussauds...

Actor Sunny Leone gives her measurement for her wax statue to be displayed at Madame Tussauds...

A woman dries red chillies at a field in a village near Jodhpur on Thursday....

A woman dries red chillies at a field in a village near Jodhpur on Thursday....

Pope Francis holds a cross that reads in Spanish

Pope Francis holds a cross that reads in Spanish "I give you my peace" upon arrival...

A villager displays a mortar shell allegedly fired on a residential area from the Pakistan...

A villager displays a mortar shell allegedly fired on a residential area from the Pakistan...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.