KING LEADS THRONGS AT INCWALA MAIN DAY
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.
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.