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Photographer's Note

Tomorrow is a public holiday in Swaziland to mark the start of the Incwala, which will continue through December and in to January.

When I travel in Southern Africa and say that I live in Swaziland, I get a similar response from most Africans - that I live in the country with the strongest cultural traditions on the continent (although Ethiopia would definitely dispute that claim).

The Incwala is a centuries old tradition, that in a simplified explanation is described as a first-fruits ceremony, or a rain ceremony. It is clearly far more complex than that and certainly is a celebration of the monarchy, but also an expression of the unity of the Swazi Nation. Many of the individual rituals are kept secret from non-Swazis and the king has been in seclusion for the last few weeks in preparation.

Tommorow marks the 'little' Incwala in which groups of young men are dispatched to collect water from the many rivers of Swaziland. All the groups travel on foot, and one will be sent to near Maputo in Mocambique to collect the foam from the Indian Ocean. The water and foam will be used in later ceremonies.

Photography is deeply discouraged, so I will not be posting any shots of the ceremonies. The photo posted is of a Sibhaca: a male, traditional dance team and was taken a few years ago. Most of the country's top Sibhaca will be performing during the Incwala.

Tue, pajaran, danos, jhm, CLODO, sacimar, clic, delpeoples, serp2000 has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Iain Pearson (iainsp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 482 W: 0 N: 698] (3298)
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