How Swaziland's King Mswati Is Out of Step

Jinty Jackson / AFP / Getty Images

Swaziland's King Mswati III delivers a speech during the launch of a campaign calling for his male subjects to get circumcised to curb the spread of HIV infection, on July 15, 2011, in Mankayane

In the week of Swaziland's annual Reed Dance, tens of thousands of virgin girls trek across the southern African kingdom to the Queen Mother's royal residence, Ludzidzini. On the banks of the Little Usutu River, just below the twin chutes of Matenga Falls, the women cut giant reeds into stacks and carry them to the matriarch's cattle corral to lean against the fence as symbolic fortification. The ceremony climaxes in a two-day parade in which the women sing and dance in...

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