The Reed Dance to honour King Mswati III of Swaziland is used by members of the Swazi Royal Family as a hunting ground to satisfy their insatiable sexual appetites, according to one of the fiercest critics of the king.
Every year tens of thousands of ‘maidens’, many of them displaying bare breasts, dance for the king. Some years King Mswati uses this as an opportunity to choose himself a new wife – he is thought to have 14 at present.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), says the annual Reed Dance (also known as Umhlanga) which will next be held on 30 August 2010 ‘is marketed to outside observers as a glittering rite of passage, [but] it is important that people become aware of the lecherous members of the royal family who use it as a hunting ground to satisfy their insatiable sexual appetites.'
The SSN comments come after a ‘senior’ member of the Swazi Royal Family, Prince Logcogco (also known as Prince Mangaliso) became embroiled in a custody battle with the 18-year-old mother of their four-year-old child.
Prince Logcogco, aged 60, gave interviews to the Times of Swaziland about the custody battle and his belief that the HIV situation in Swaziland (the kingdom has the highest infection rate in the world) was exaggerated.
Although the media in Swaziland are not reporting the fact, the mother of his child conceived by Prince Logcogco, when she was 13 or 14 years old. This is illegal in Swaziland, where the age of consent is 16. If police prosecute and Prince Logcogco is convicted he faces a jail term and up to 24 lashes.
SSN in a blistering attack on Prince Logcogco says, ‘Logcogco, who is also the chief of Gundvwini and Chairman of Tibiyo, the trust held on behalf of the nation by the royal family, was first reported by the Times of Swaziland to be fuming over the fact that a certain girl he had impregnated had allegedly “stolen” his daughter.
'A day later the distraught young lady called the newspaper to give her side of the story where she narrated how the prince had “destroyed her life”, in a manner that she cannot reveal, when he impregnated her. She further went on to disclose how the senior prince had neglected the child by not paying maintenance and later leaving her at his residence where she was sexually abused. The child is only four years old.
‘A follow up interview with the prince has revealed what can be described as a deplorable attitude by a senior citizen of the country. Prince Mangaliso shared his beliefs on HIV and sexuality with a Times of Swaziland journalist recently where he dismissed abstinence, faithfulness and circumcision as a means of curbing the scourge. Describing himself as a fearless human being who could not be bothered by HIV, which he believes has been commercialised by ruthless Capitalist Pharmaceutical companies.
‘Logcogco is a polygamist whose number of wives is unknown. He also has numerous children out of wedlock, many of whom he has no personal relationship with. Like his cousin, King Mswati, he still holds on to backward views of expressing his manhood through his virility. The existence of such attitudes amongst people who are role models to the country’s youth is disturbing and goes a long way towards explaining why the country currently has the highest infection rate in the whole world. As the nation prepares for its annual red dance, which is marketed to outside observers as a glittering rite of passage, it is important that people become aware of the lecherous members of the royal family who use it as a hunting ground to satisfy their insatiable sexual appetites.’