Hard work cashing in at the Reed Celebration
NOTHING much happens in the rural village of Osuthu, Nongoma, so for informal traders the Reed Celebration, formerly known as the Reed Dance, presents an opportunity for them to make some extra cash.
As early as Thursday afternoon, traders around the province started making their way to the Enyokeni Royal Palace where they set up gazebos and makeshift structures for business over the three-day festival.
Ntombikayise Shandu fired up her braai stand to grill chicken giblets and livers.
“I don’t sell anywhere but the Reed Celebration and other cultural festivals held at the palace because I live here in the Osuthu village so I only get customers during those events,” she said.
Shandu used the money to supplement her husband’s income, who works as a janitor in one of the apartment buildings in Durban.
“I don’t make much but if business is good I can make a profit of about R750 and that can go towards buying school shoes for one of my children or getting them some new clothes,” said the mother of three.
Self-taught bead artist Nombuso Khambule, from Folweni, south of Durban, goes to the Reed Celebration every year to sell her bead accessories to the maidens.
She clubs in with 14 other informal traders who hire a taxi from Durban who use the festival to boost their profits.
“Normally I sell vetkoek, fried chips and sausage rolls to school kids at the Sobonakhona High. But when I come here I make a bit more than I do monthly because people here are fascinated by traditional bead-work designs,” she said.
Photographer Andile Jwara spends August and September going to all parts of KwaZulu-Natal where other monarchies host celebrations.
“I recently returned from the Ingwavuma one (in Umkhanyakude),” he enthused.
“But this is the biggest one where I’m kept on my feet the whole day just taking pictures.”
On Saturday, when the main event was held, he took more than 1 800 photographs of maidens and their friends and was able to print them on site.
“I capture the experience for them and they can go home and show their friends and family what they got up to,” he added.
Phindile Mkhize’s cooldrinks and ice cream provided thirst-quenching relief to maidens and other revellers from Nongoma’s scorching heat.
He came with a stock of R3 000 but was already sitting at less than 40% by Friday afternoon, which saw him making an unexpected trip to the CBD to get more.
“When you are a father, there is nothing you wouldn’t do to make sure that your child gets everything she needs in life.
“That is why I’m here selling these things so that I can afford to give her what she wants because I’ve been unlucky when it comes to finding a job,”he explained.