Preserving Zulu heritage with uMkhosi woMhlanga

Umkhosi woMhlanga (known as the Royal Reed Dance) remains a vital practice in embracing Zulu heritage and preserving indigenous history.

The old cultural practice sees more than 35 000 Zulu maidens gathering annually at eNyokeni Royal Palace in KwaNongoma. The event serves as an opportunity for the Zulu king to choose a new virgin wife.

However, it is often looked upon through a western gaze which dictates it's own set of ideals of modernity.

702's Azania Mosaka spoke to cultural expert, Dr Nomagugu Ngobese, regarding the various layers of the cultural practice.

Listen to the conversation below:

She said that virginity testing, which has drawn condemnation, would continue to be administered to uphold cultural beliefs. She also said that the tests have remained voluntary and remained open to various African cultures.

Don't restrict people to thinking the way you think. Cultures are practiced everywhere.

Dr Nomagugu Ngobese, cultural expert

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