The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, got a little over-excited in its reporting of its patron and the Reed Dance.
On Monday (29 August 2016) it gushed that the King, who rules the tiny kingdom as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, gave many of the maidens who danced before him half-naked new sneakers.
The Observer reported, ‘His Majesty the King, yet again, spoiled maidens with comfortable sneakers - not only to be worn for walks but one could even dress smartly on a casual Friday and still look absolutely fantastic in them.
‘The maidens, too, wasted no time, as soon as the sneakers reached their hands they put them on and were quick to comment saying “kute umuntfu lositsandza njengeNgwenyama” loosely translated “no one loves us more the King”.’
The editors at the Swazi Observer have short memories. On 24 August 2016 the newspaper reported the Taiwan Embassy in Swaziland had donated more than 60,000 pairs of sneakers worth E7 million (about US$500,00) to Reed Dance organisers.
Thomas Chen, the Taiwan Ambassador in Swaziland, was reported saying, ‘This is just a token to show our support for the Swazi culture as it is unique, beautiful and it is what makes the country shine and rise above the rest.’
DISPUTE OVER REED DANCE SAFETY
SWAZI MAIDENS LEARN POLITICAL SONGS