Reed Dance In South Africa: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Exotic Dance

Reed dance is one of the most adored and respected dances in South Africa. The Zulus consider it important even to the extent that it is even attended by their leaders. In Zululand, the dance takes place each year in September at the royal palace. Girls from all parts of Zululand and several other parts come to participate in the dance. The girls are supposed to wear traditional attires which include beads, bracelets, necklaces and colored sashes. During the celebrations, the women dance for their king with exposed breasts and bottoms.

As the name suggests, during the dance, each girl carries a long read which is deposited on the floor at the approach of the king. The girls are required to choose the longest and the strongest reeds. The dance is led by a chief’s daughter or the Zulu princess.

Here are 10 Facts about the Reed Dance You’ve Never Heard Of

1. The Dance was Introduced in 1991 as a Way of Encouraging the Girls to Delay Sexual Activity

Zulus discourage sex before marriage and this dance was created as a way of promoting that. One of the ceremony’s events is the test for virginity. If the reed breaks, before the girl reaches a specified point, it is considered that the girl is no longer a virgin.

2. It Takes Eight Days

Reed dance takes the whole week and an extra day before it is concluded. During each day, various practices are conducted. The king should attend Two out of the eight days.

3. It Fosters Self Esteem

Individuals who participate in the dance are sure of what they have. Virgins are sure to pass the test since they have the courage that they have not engaged in any activity that is considered evil by the society.

4. It Boosts Cohesion

The fact that thousands of girls from the neighbouring territories are encouraged to participate in the dance means that the communities are destined to always coexist. South Africa’s president is said to constantly attend such dances in South Africa and this shows that it brings cohesion. In Swaziland, King Mswati normally picks his wife’s from the participants regardless of their tribes.

reed dance 3

See Also: Xhosa people, Tradition, and Dance

More Astonishing Facts about the Reed Dance

5. It is a form of Anti-AIDS Campaign

All participants in the dance are required not to engage in sex before marriage. It is interesting that this requirement has been adhered to by the girls as evident by the number of girls who participate in the dance.

The Venda People - Culture, Traditional Attire & Music

6. It entails no Competition

This eight-day ceremony is not a form of competition. It is meant to bring cohesion and a way of rebuilding the culture from apartheid. It also promotes a sense of cultural identity which is essential for nation building.

7. Unauthorized Photography is Prohibited

Taking photos during the dance is discouraged. The dance is considered a traditional practice and it should not be confused with pornography. Since the photos should not be published on media platforms and photographic sites, the Zulus discourage unauthorized photography.

8. The Ceremony is not Centuries Old

Despite the fact that it has taken root, it should be remembered that in Swaziland, the dance commenced during the reign of King Mswati.

Reed Dance 2

9. The Activities that Take Place During the Dance Does not Signify that All is Well in Swaziland

Normally, dances are meant to signify the good things in the society. Dances are common during celebrations and graduations but this is not the case in Swaziland. In this regard, we should not be fooled into believing and thinking that all is well in the kingdom of Eswatini. It is even surprising to note that about 80% of the girls who participate in the dance come from families who rely on food aids while their king ranks among the richest individuals in Africa if not in the whole world.

10. The Dance is Full of Controversies

There are a couple of controversies that surround the practice. For example, the dance is meant to discourage sex before marriage thus reducing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. However, Aids can also be contracted through anal sex which happens quite often in the kingdom and this defeats the purpose of reducing sexually transmitted diseases. A girl who has practised anal sex is still considered a virgin during the dance. The criterion used in testing virginity is controversial too.


Various facts, information, and controversies have been given about the reed dance. Some individuals and societies support the dance while some are against it, it’s left for you to judge

Was this article helpful?
Andile Smith
Andile Smith
Andile provides articles on anything from Politics, Sports, History and entertainment to funny, creepy and weird. His passion for writing allows him to take what is ordinary and transform it into a real masterpiece. He's a true storyteller with a passion for tech and literature
data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="4" data-matched-content-ui-type="image_stacked" data-ad-format="autorelaxed">


Khosini Dlamini – A Look Back at the Life and Death of Minnie Dlamini Jones’ Brother

A sibling bond is a unique bond most people cherish more than any other thing. South African actress Minnie Dlamini-Jones once shared an amazing...

Truth about Hamilton Ndlovu The Gauteng Businessman Facing SARS For His High-End Car Collection

It is not unusual for people who have acquired new things most especially cars and houses to splash them across their social media for...

Unraveling DJ Tira’s Net Worth, The House and Cars He Spends His Money On

One of the most fantastic DJ's in South Africa and probably the biggest to make it out of KZN, DJ Tira’s net worth is...

Mandisa Meyiwa Met Her Late Husband When He Had Nothing – Meet Senzo Meyiwa’s Wife

It was since 2014 that South African goalie, Senzo Meyiwa, was killed in what was suspected to be a robbery case. Since then, his...

MacDonald Ndou – Demystifying the Real-life KK from Muvhango

MacDonald Ndou is a popular South African actor who is easily recognized for starring in the South African television soap opera, Muvhango. He has...

Featured Today

10 Shaka Zulu Facts That Will Shock Your Knowledge of History

Jessica Nkosi Kept Her Romance with Baby Daddy T.K Dlamini Secret – A Look at Their Life Together

Somewhere in the minds of many South Africans, there was always the knack to find out the kind of man Jessica Nkosi was dating,...

Legacy Actors – Meet The Cast Members of M-Net’s Posh Telenovela

If you are a fan of family drama and also love watching television series that chronicles all shades of relatable family issues, then you...

Khosi Ngema – Inside the Life Of Fikile Bhele The Blood And Water TV Actress

Khosi Ngema may just be another South African teenager when she first started, but she is now more than that. The young actress has...

DJ Tira and His Wife Gugu Khathi Have Been Together for 2 Decades – Inside Their Relationship

DJ Tira and his wife, Gugu Khathi, are one of South Africa's most-beloved celebrity couples. They have been on each other's side for two...

Truth about Dj Tira’s Age and the Songs That Made Him Famous

DJ Tira is a South African disc jockey and record producer who gained fame in the entertainment industry and beyond due to his charisma...
Was this article helpful?

Related Stories