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Third-year Education student, Ms Nonzuzo Mzizi has launched a campaign to assist and financially support young women (“maidens”) from UKZN who want to attend the annual Umkhosi woMhlanga, also known as the Royal Reed Dance.

Set to be held in September, the event sees young maidens carry reeds and journey to King Zwelithini Goodwill’s eNyokeni royal palace in Nongoma.

‘I noticed that the Zulu culture isn’t practised or appreciated sufficiently at UKZN so I decided to start this initiative,’ said Mzizi. ‘At university, we tend to forget about our roots and become more westernised,’ she said.

Mzizi aims to assist UKZN based “maidens” to attend the Royal Reed Dance Festival so they can be part of the celebrations and help instill pride in the Zulu nation.

Speaking about her experience, Ms Mbali Madondo who is a student 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 in it are labelled as 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 in,’ she said.

To be a part of the campaign or to sponsor a young maiden, email Nonzuzo Mzizi at 217014449@stu.ukzn.ac.za

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Supplied