Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Buggering a bull can be hazardous, as King Mswati III of Swaziland found at the Incawala ceremony.

Each year at the ceremony, dubbed the national prayer by traditionalists in the kingdom, the king, doped up on muti (traditional medicine used to cast spells or curses), sodomises a bull. But to facilitate this, the bull is itself subdued.

An eyewitness to the ceremony, Sithembiso Simelane recounts that one year things didn’t go to plan.

King Mswati is aided by young Swazi men who first beat the bull with their fists and hold it down so the king can mount the beast to insert his manhood into to its rear end.

‘It got out of its coma and all hell broke loose. It pushed him to the side and he started screaming for dear life until we managed to overpower the bull and its throat was cut to ensure it was dead,’ Simelane reports.

Once the king’s sperm is collected in this ceremony, it is poured into a horn ‘so that it can be used whenever the nation has been called to Sibaya or any national event.

‘The sperm is mixed with the food that is cooked for the people on those events or ceremonies so that the people can love the king so much and be very afraid of rising against him.’

Simelane, aged 38, was born at Lwandle, near Manzini, but now lives at Nkhaba in the Hhohho region of Swaziland with his wife and two daughters. He was a member of the Inyatsi regiment for about 10 years and says he saw ‘all the evil that takes place in the royal residencies and more especially at Ludzidzini royal residence (Lobamba)’.

Simelane gives a detailed account of activities at Incwala, considered to be the most sacred of Swazi traditional ceremonies, but it is also the most secretive.

At the official Incwala ceremony the king joins in dancing.

Simelane reports, ‘After the two hours of dance, the media is then chucked out of the royal kraal as some evil activities continue. This is the time for kulahlelwa ngeluselwa. Luselwa is a fruit cut from tintsanga. It is coated with strong muti and is thrown at one of the boys by the king. The boy, after it has been thrown at him, has to run faster than the king back to Inhlambelo lest he gets insane for the rest of his life.

‘Unfortunately, most of the boys fail to run faster than the king because he throws the fruit and runs first. When the boy picks it up and tries to follow, the king is, by that time, already at the entrance and the boys lack the courage to push him aside so that they can be first to enter. At the end these boys literally go insane and are given employment in the army to cover this problem.

‘I must reveal here that these boys to whom the fruit was thrown later usually commit murder, a direct cause of being thrown at with the luselwa. They include even those from the time of the late king Sobhuza II such as […]

‘During the process of kulahlelwa ngeluselwa, these young boys are given small shields with no sticks in them (imigobo). They are always chosen from the Inyatsi regiment kraal (about 20 boys in total) and ordered to dance at the entrance to the small kraal (Inhlambelo) for this session. Senior regiments dance far at a distance, in the middle of Sibaya so they don’t see a thing. The king then comes out of Inhlambelo dressed in some funny attire made up of grass and tree branches and inyoni (head gear) on his head and painted all over his body with black lotions (muti). He dances into a song that says “uyinkhosi yamakhosi” (you are king of kings) as he moves forward into the terrified boys and back carrying the fruit.

‘On that occasion Mswati seems like a mad man and he terrifies the young boys and the Indvuna will shout “do not be afraid of your king, he can’t harm you, he loves you all.” This is known to be a way in which the king cleans himself of all the evils of Incwala with the strong muti and all negative energy which he deposits onto one of the young boys who then loses his mind.’

To read Simelane’s full account of Incwala, click here.

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