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    Business comes to a standstill as Swazis take part in Incwala ceremony

    APA-Mbabane (Swaziland)

    Business came to a standstill in Swaziland on Friday as the country participated in the annual Incwala cultural ceremony.

    Friday was declared a public holiday so that thousands of traditional warriors and members of the public can participate in the main dance which is held at the Ludzidzni Royal Residence.

    Unlike other public holidays, this holiday which comes on unspecific dates annually, is the most respected as business owners are expected to completely close shop between 1pm (1100 GMT) and 5pm when the dance takes place.

    During this period, King Mswati III dances with warriors in a first public appearance within the ceremony as he remains in seclusion for the duration of the Incwala.

    The Incwala ceremony is about three months. It started in November 2017.

    APA interacted with some of the tourists who are participating in the event and most of them said they were here for the first time because they have always heard about Swaziland’s cultural preservation strength over the years.

    Some are coming from as far as overseas in countries including Australia, Belgium and Qatar.

    The main dance comes after the delivery of the sacred thorny shrubs that younger warriors go out to fetch earlier in the week.

    The shrubs are used to build the King’s sacred enclosure or hut in which he performs certain traditional rituals.

    After that the warriors participate in the killing of the bull, a practice where men use their fists to punch a black bull until it dies so that it could be used for further rituals as the ceremony goes on.

    Usually, after the dance, the warriors relax on Saturday and they commence business on the days that follow where they start weeding the royal fields.

    The ceremony is expected to end during the first week of February and that is when the King is free to participate in national and international assignments.

    The official opening of Parliament is usually his first national assignment.


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