Swaziland has an interesting tradition. Every year as part of the Reed Dance ceremonies, the Swazi king is expected to choose one maiden whom he later marries by Swazi law and custom. Swazi law allows men to marry as many women as they please.
King Mswati the Third has deliberately abandoned picking a maiden during some of the past years’ events. If he had been picking every year he would be having 29 wives and one fiancee by now to reflect the 30 Reed Dance ceremonies since he was coronated into power in 1986.
As reported on Buzz South Africa, The Reed Dance ceremony is an annual Swazi and Zulu tradition held in August or September. Tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdoms to Ludzidzini to participate in the eight-day event and would-be brides are publicly checked to ascertain that their virginity was still intact.
On the main day of the 2017 Reed Dance which took place September 4th, 19 year old Siphelele Mashwama emerged clad in a unique traditional attire, with the top bearing a lion, a symbol reserved only for the king in Swaziland. She had also donned red feathers on the head, which are only reserved for members of royalty and can never be worn by an ordinary citizen under any circumstances.
By then it had not been confirmed that she was the chosen one until a few days later when the king’s emissary Hlangabeza Mdluli confirmed to local media.
It is said that she’s currently in the United States with King Mswati where he is attending the United Nations general assembly.
The king has about 25 children and his first born is 30-year-old Princess Sikhanyiso.