40 ‘Virgins’ hoping to marry Mswati Die in Road Crash

Nearly 40 girls have died in a grisly road crash in Swaziland while travelling to a famous traditional festival.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network said about 20 others sustained serious injuries when the truck they were travelling in collided with another vehicle on Friday.

The women who were hoping to marry the king were on their way to the royal residence for the annual traditional reed dance.

The festival sees thousands of women and girls travelling from chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini royal village every year to participate in the eight-day event, which includes the Umhlanga Reed Dance.

Every year about 40,000 girls and young women take part in the ceremony, during which King Mswati chooses his new wife.Swaziland Women

The eight-day event, which sees the women parade bare-breasted in front of the royal residence, has been heavily criticized by rights groups who say it is outdated and sexist.

About Swaziland

Swaziland is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies.

It has been ruled by King Mswati III since 1986 after he took over from his father, King Sobhuza II, who reigned for 60 years.

According to the king, Swaziland’s image has been damaged by misinformation.

Mswati III, the current King of Swaziland and head of the Swazi Royal Family.
Mswati III, the current King of Swaziland and head of the Swazi Royal Family.

The country has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV infection.

 

Yahoo News, Sky News and BBC Contributed to this Report

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