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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Picture gallery: Thousands dance for Swazi king
One of the biggest cultural events in Africa has been taking place in Swaziland. More than 25,000 Swazi women took part in this year's Reed Dance ceremony, travelling from all corners of the small, mountainous kingdom to present reeds and to dance in front of the king.

Swazi reed dance
The girls came to dance in a special arena at the royal residence for His Majesty King Mswati III

King Mswati III inspects the maidens
The celebration of Swazi womanhood and national pride is also a showcase if the king decides he wants another bride

Swazi reed dance
All week the girls have been collecting reeds 3m high to present as a sign of respect for the king and the queen mother

Swazi reed dance
The girls were aged anything from three or four to their early 20s

Swazi reed dance
So far the king has nine wives, and more than a dozen children


See also:

03 Jun 02 | Africa
14 Feb 02 | Africa
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26 Oct 01 | Africa
17 Sep 01 | Africa
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
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