Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries by Bodwa Mbingo

Throngs of cul­ture lov­ing Swazis, tourists and diplo­mats joined His Majesty King Mswati III in dance to mark the Incwala Main Day at Ludzidzini Royal Res­i­dence yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

With tem­per­a­tures reach­ing highs on the day, libutfo glar­ingly in high spir­its braved the scorch­ing heat to be part of the yearly event that has be­come a uni­fy­ing fac­tor in the coun­try and is aptly re­garded as a na­tional prayer. From 2:40pm af­ter the fi­nal siren (li­ci­longo) rang sig­nal­ing the start of the event, throngs of Swazis made it into the Cat­tle Byre in high spir­its to be­gin danc­ing and singing Incwala songs in grand style. They had started flock­ing to the Royal Res­i­dence from as early as 10am to pre­pare and don their tra­di­tional re­galia be­ing the um­dada and sigeja. While danc­ing, they en­dured the blaz­ing heat as they waited for the grand en­trance of the King in the Cat­tle Byre who would also join them in dance on the main day. In uni­for­mity, church lead­ers, mem­bers of the coun­try’s three se­cu­rity forces, in­gatja, im­bali, lut­sango and ema­jaha all danced be­fore be­ing joined by mem­bers of the Royal fam­ily. Diplo­mats watched in ap­pre­ci­a­tion and tourists from all walks of life also came in their num­bers to wit­ness this all im­por­tant day in the coun­try’s cal­en­dar.


Af­ter great an­tic­i­pa­tion, the King made his way into the Cat­tle Byre when the clock had hit 4:15pm. As soon as His Majesty en­tered the Cat­tle Byre to join the throngs in dance, whis­tles from the at­ten­dants show­ing their ap­pre­ci­a­tion and love for their King and cul­ture sig­naled the spirit be­hind the event. His Majesty took time to go around and greet the libutfo that was ar­ranged in the cus­tom­ary horse­shoe for­ma­tion (umkhumbi) and it showed that ev­ery­one within the Cat­tle Byre was ex­tremely happy and hav­ing a good time. This was sig­naled by the loud round of ap­plause and whis­tles as His Majesty went around and later joined them in dance. The King took over an hour also en­dur­ing the swel­ter­ing heat to dance with libutfo with the event go­ing on into the evening.

The event that is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity especially out­side the coun­try once again drew a large num­ber of tourists from the South­ern African re­gion, the en­tire con­ti­nent and over­seas. This gave the Swazis that were present a chance to show­case their cul­ture and they did so in grand style. A num­ber of tourists had time to ap­pre­ci­ate the event with a num­ber of Swazis at hand to as­sist by ex­plain­ing to them what ex­actly was hap­pen­ing and what the event meant for the Swazi na­tion. For most it was a day to re­mem­ber while some yearned to make it into the Cat­tle Byre that was filled to the brim.

Out­side of the main arena, it was busi­ness as usual for a num­ber of ven­dors that sold their wares while even some young mem­bers of in­gatja made a killing sell­ing some items that go with the Swazi at­tire. It was also a great day for ema­jaha to min­gle. Incwala marks the end of the coun­try’s main cul­tural events af­ter Bu­ganu event that is held early into the year and the An­nual Umh­langa Cer­e­mony around Au­gust. As soon as the Incwala event is over, ema­jaha will then pro­ceed to weed the King’s fields un­til a time when His Majesty will dis­perse them mark­ing the end of the coun­try’s cal­en­dar of im­por­tant cul­tural events.

(Pics: Si­mon Sha­bangu)

IMBUBE: Ing­wenyama in­spect­ing Emabutfo on ar­rival for the Main Incwala Cer­e­mony at Ludzidzini Cat­tle Byre yes­ter­day. UPON AR­RIVAL: Ing­wenyama on ar­rival. ALL IN: Peo­ple came from near and far to be part of the cer­e­mony.

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