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SWAZILAND CULTURE AND TRADITIONS

 

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GENERAL INFORMATION

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Swaziland

The culture of Swazi people involves music, food, religion, architecture, kinship among many othe things.[1] The Swazi people are composed of various Nguni clans who speak the Nguni language SiSwati.

 

The Ngwenyama is considered the head of the nation alongside the Ndlovukati who is the spiritual leader of the nation.

 

National cultural events often involve the Ngwenyama or Ndlovukati. At home, the patriach of the family is the head and in the past, often practiced polygamy. This headman, usually referred to as umnumzane is central to all activities of the home.

 

A group of homes forming a community and the land they reside on forms a chiefdom or umphakatsi. Several chiefdoms form an inkhundla which then belongs of a regional division of the country. This connects the older traditional leadership structures to more modern forms of government.

 

There are national cultural events such as umhlanga, emaganu and incwala which take place at Royal residences of the Ngwenyama and Ndlovukati. Local cultural events in communities or imiphakatsi, take place at the residence of the chief also called emphakatsini. Weddings, funerals and religious events are usually carried out at family homesteads where neighbors are usually invited to partake.

THE REED DANCE

Swaziland cultural traditions | Swaziland Reed Dance | Umhlanga | Ncwala Ceremony | Kingship Ceremony

All young maidens from every part of the country gather to take part in the Reed Dance.Most of the participants are teenagers.

 

Umhlanga usually takes place in late August or early September.

 

The maidens pay respect to the Queen Mother.At the ceremony the girls wear short beaded skirts with ankle bracelets and jewellery with colorful sashes. The women sing and dance as they parade in front of the royal family as well as a crowd of spectators, tourists and foreign dignitaries.

 

After the parade, groups from select villages take to the center of the field and put on a special performance for the crowd. The King's many daughters also participate in the Umhlanga ceremony and are distinguished by the crown of red feathers in their hair. Usually the king chooses his wife at the reed dance ceremony from among the participants.

 

Umhlanga

 

Umhlanga ceremony
Reed dance

 

Umhlanga usually takes place in late August or early September.

THE NCWALA CEREMONY

Incwala or Kingship Ceremony is the most honorable events in the kingdom of Swaziland. It takes place during December/January.

The King and thousands of young men and warriors take part in various rituals, dances and songs. The dates for this ceremony are announced each year by the King, usually a few weeks before the event and are also determined by the phases of the moon.

 

The ritual begins with a journey by the "Bemanti" (people of the water), who go to the Indian Ocean to collect water and on their return to the royal kraal, the "Little Incwala" begins, preceding the full moon.

Young men collect the sacred branches of the "lusekwane" shrub, a species of acacia.

On their third day, the young men ritually slaughter a bull.

 

On the fourth day is the termination of the Ncwala when the king in full ceremonial dress joins his warriors in the traditional dance. The king then eats the first fruit of the season after further rituals at his special hut.

Ncwala Ceremony Kingship Ceremony
Young men collect the sacred branches of the "lusekwane" shrub, a species of acacia.

CULTURAL VILLAGES IN SWAZILAND

 

MANTENGA CULTURAL VILLAGE

Mantenga Cultural Village a living museum of old traditions and represents a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1850s. It comprises 16 huts, kraals for cattle and goats, reed fences and other structures. 

 

Visitors are encouraged to interact with the people in the village and can do so by grinding maize, plaiting mountain grass or joining in the Swazi song and dance.

 

The village life is vibrant and energetic and your guide will not only talk you through how the huts and traditional items are made will might also teach you the Siswati words for them. Interaction is encouraged, so try your hand at grinding maize and plaiting mountain grass or join in the Swazi song and dance. An offering of a taste of local food and sometimes brew is made but forget about your cutlery and try it the Swazi way… with your hands! This experience is both informative and memorable - a taste of true Swazi hospitality - and should not be missed.

 

The Cultural Village is open to visitors every day from 8 am to 5 pm.

The traditional dances are held at 11.15 and 15.15 every day.

LOCATION : Ezulwini Valley, 10km from Mvubu Falls Lodge.

 

 

 

 

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Mpumalanga

 

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