Monday, August 31, 2009

Reed Dance Festival

Greetings from Mozambique, a country with a AK47 on its flag and a hostel inexplicably full of sharpay dogs (seriously, there must be 8 or 9 of them wandering about). I just arrived here this afternoon after a really cool weekend in the Kingdom of Swaziland (of all places).

Swazi is a tiny little country of about a million people sandwiched in between South Africa and Mozambique. It is very similar to South Africa (at least in that it was a former British colony) but a little more prosperous and way more chilled out. (It was the place to go to get up to shenanigans during apartheid era South Africa.)

I was there to see the annual Reed Dance Festival, at which thousand of Swazi girls pledge their allegiance to the queen by going out and cutting a bunch of reeds, then dancing, parading and just generally carrying on with said bunch of reeds. I will be honest with you and tell you that I don’t really understand exactly all the symbolism of the things going on, but it was an incredible thing just to be witness to. The girls had these exotic costumes of varying degrees of traditionalness (I am guessing the Ray Bans were a relatively recent addition), and were just so happy. And in general no one really made a big deal about the fact that there were whities floating around with cameras. We just sat on a rock in the shade and watch the girls go by… People didn’t even seem to be that interested in hustling us, they honestly just wanted to know what country we were from and if we were enjoying their festival. And the President of Zambia was hanging out in the crowd sans entourage. Can’t argue with that kind of company.

Other than the Reed Dancing, Swaziland was a blur of hiking, shopping, drinking and a brief ill-fated stop in a Christian revivalist ceremony (not much going on in Mbabane on a Sunday afternoon). Sorry this is a little short but I think the pictures are much cooler than anything I might actually have to say on the subject.

1 comment:

J. said...

Great shots of Swazi. And also Kruger (totally envious... only saw giraffes when I was there...).