Photographs of the women and girls who dance bare breasted and in short skirts and some with no underwear in front of Swaziland's absolute monarch King Mswati III at the traditional Reed Dance are appearing on pornography websites across the world. The half-naked dancers, some as young as 11, are also said to be attracting 'sex tourists' to the kingdom. Also, some of King Mswati's American backers told him the sight of a middle-age man watching tens of thousands of semi-clothed women dance for him gave Swaziland a bad image as there was an obvious 'sexual undertone' to it. The next annual Reed Dance also known as Umhlanga takes place in Swaziland renamed Eswatini by King Mswati on his fiftieth birthday earlier this year on Monday 3 September If past years are a guide possibly as many as , women, often described as 'maidens' or 'virgins' by media in Swaziland, will dance. The Reed Dance is considered a major traditional cultural event and takes place each year. Ahead of this year's event Nonduduzo 'Zuzu' Zubuko, the leader of the women who dance and who are called the Imbali Regiment, told participants, 'Part of the things that our culture teaches us is to dress appropriately for the ceremony you are attending.
Swaziland: Pornographic Photos and Sex Tourists - the Sleazy Side of Swaziland's Reed Dance
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Young virgins have been performing the Zulu Royal Reed Dance for centuries wearing nothing but beads and short fringed skirts. But now King Goodwill Zwelithini has told the girls to put on sarongs or traditional undergarments called umuntsha to cover their buttocks. And the King added: "There are times when maidens have to sing and dance and we end up seeing certain private body parts that we're not supposed to see. Locals are said to be fed up of "lascivious" male tourists who "act like paparazzi" and "zoom in on bare flesh with their hi-tech cameras. Zulus say their traditional ceremony is being sullied because of the wrong sort of attention from visitors.
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