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...