SABC News, Husbands to be to undergo HIV testing in KwaZulu-Natal, 11 September 2004

Zulu maidens attend the reed dance in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.The Zulu Monarchy is in the process of getting all prospective husbands of reed dancers to be tested for HIV. The announcement was made at the annual reed dance in Nongoma by Princess Thembi, a senior member of the Zulu royal family. Over 20 000 maidens attended today's event.

Most of the maidens underwent virginity testing before coming to the reed dance, which dates back about two centuries. Zulu maidens protected their virginity using reeds. Since then, maidens have asked the king to proclaim their virginity.

Now the monarch wants them to be protected against Aids. "Because they have gone through virginity testing we demand that men who wish to marry them must go for Aids testing," says Princess Thembi.

Today's event marks the 20th anniversary of the revival of the reed dance and coincides with King Zwelithini's 56th birthday. Politicians including Jacob Zuma, the deputy president, and his Nigerian counterpart Atiku Abu Bakar were among the guests.




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