The festival takes its name from river bed reeds which are the central focus of this four-day event, and are carried in a procession by thousands of young women invited to the King of the Zulu nation’s royal residence – KwaNyokeni Palace.
‘I noticed that the Zulu culture isn’t practised or appreciated sufficiently at UKZN so I decided to start this initiative. At university, we tend to forget about our roots and become more westernised,’ said Mzizi.
Mzizi aims to assist ‘maidens’ to attend the Royal Reed Dance Festival so they can be part of the celebrations and help instil pride in the Zulu nation.
Speaking about her experience, student Ms Mbali Madondo said: ‘I now have a new perspective about life, culture and traditions. Being a maiden and being part of this campaign has taught me discipline, self-love, sisterhood, sharing and respect.’
Another student Ms Kwanele Ndlovu believes the campaign promotes purity among young maidens, encouraging them to respect their bodies.
‘Based on my past experiences, especially on campus, the Reed Dance has been stigmatised, and those who take part are labelled uncivilised,’ said Ndlovu. ‘Modern society, the media and contemporary environments have caused girls to shy away from the beauty of such a ceremony because it is considered uncool and embarrassing for young maidens. However, I am honoured to be part of this inspirational campaign and encourage other young UKZN maidens to join.’
To be a part of the campaign or to sponsor a young maiden, email Nonzuzo Mzizi on firstname.lastname@example.org