Reed Dance and Queen Mpumi’s Orphanage

SEE an explosion of colour, FEEL the ground shake with dancing and LISTEN to sweet voices rising in the air in this jubilant celebration of Traditional Culture and Values

The Reed Dance Festival, known locally as Umkosi woMhlanga in the Zulu language, will see thousands of maidens from across Zululand travel to participate in this important cultural event.

As you enter the venue a sea of colour greets you as participating maidens don their traditional garments and beadwork, lovingly prepared in the run up to the Festival. Girls walking through break out spontaneously into song and dance, as if their joyful spirits can be contained no longer. Each region in the Kingdom has distinctive colours and patterns, painstakingly crafted by each girl and proudly displayed.

Bare-breasted, the female participants choose a reed and carry it in long processions to deliver to the King, if the difficult to carry tall reed remains in tact the entire journey from the river bank then it is a sign that their virginity is still in tact.

The Reed Dance has it’s roots beginning in 1940 but died out until current Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini revived it just before the first cases of HIV/AIDS was discovered in South Africa. Helping to promote traditional values of abstinence before marriage to tackle social issues such as the risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy, King Zwelithini has successfully used this event to provide support and education, especially for younger generations, including women’s rights as well as protection of wildlife and nature.

It has been a great desire for Queen Mpumi to open an orphanage that she will oversee as there is a great need in the area and Our United Planet want to help the Queen realise this dream.

The Reed Dance has been growing in popularity so that each year more and more maidens participate, however the area of Nongoma where the Festival takes place is in need of better facilities and amenities and this makes it challenging for those attending.

The Royal Residence is located close by and Queen Mpumi, who organises the four day ceremony, has a great passion for education even teaching at the local school, and hopes to be able to provide this opportunity for the girls to attend for many years to come.

With a permanent accommodation facility not only will standards of health and safety be dramatically improved and make it more accessible for those in attendance but it will be the permanent new home of Queen Mpumi’s Orphanage and become a vital educational centre throughout the rest of the year.

We at Our United Planet wish to support and encourage the Reed Dance as it is a vital ceremony which not only unifies the Kingdom by upholding customary practices and skills but holds a greater significance to the Zulu people as it is their belief that their ancestors originated from a reed bed and feel that there is a power held in nature.


Save the orphaned children from lives of destitution.


Be part of a solution to bring education and knowledge to thousands of young people.


Help us keep our world cultural heritage alive and strong.

Our United Planet in collaboration with King Goodwill Zwelithini and Queen Mpumi want to provide accommodation facilities for the maidens who believe it is a great honour to be invited to participate in the Reed Dance as it is seen as an honour and is a source of pride and dignity not only for the maidens but for their families and communities also.

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