Reed Dance in Pictures

Day 6. Maidens waiting to deposit bundles of reeds at royal kraal. I saw others arriving with broken-looking stalks earlier that looked far more genuine. I don't know where these bundles came from but they look very uniform. I was told maidens found it difficult to collect enough reeds this year after a mysterious fire destroyed most of the reed plantation

Day 6. This princess was late for the divvying out of the reeds so her driver dropped her off right in the middle of the action

Photo op

King Mswati entering the stadium – this year he was on foot with his regiment. He did not show the usual flash by entering in a luxury cars. Neither did the queen mother who made no grand entrance, seated demurely in the stands behind. Perhaps all in deference to the economic crisis.

Part of crowd of spectators. Sorry guys I couldn't resist. It took guts

Princess Sikhanyiso led the dancing as usual. This year she unveiled a new song. Read into it what you will: "This is our land, they may come with spears but that is not the way it goes. They will not cope, they will not get close to this land."

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