Zulu women and children in Royal Reed Dance Festival

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11 Sep 1993, South Africa — Once a year every September young Zulu maidens take part in a colorful cultural festival, the Royal Reed Dance Festival, celebrated by countless generations, and attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the country and from across the world. The festival takes its name from the riverbed reeds. It is a great honor for the young women to be invited to take part in the Reed Dance ceremony. Only virgins are permitted to take part in the festival to ensure that they are ritually “pure”. The Reed Dance festival is a solemn occasion for the young women, but also an opportunity to show off their singing, dancing and beadwork. — Image by © Selwyn Tait/Sygma/Corbis

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