Over 98,000 young virgins participated in the annual Reed dance festival in Swaziland to celebrate their chastity and for the king to choose a new wife.
The festival is known as Umhlanga or Reed Dance ceremony, and is conducted in the four regions of the country.
About 38 maidens died and 20 injured last year as they were travelling by truck for last year’s edition of the festival.
The maidens are often bare-chested during the dance which involves movement of the shoulders from the front to the rear without moving the bust.
After the dance, the chaste girls present their reeds to the queen mother, which are used to fence around her residence.
Usually, women that are engaged or have experienced sexual intercourse are strictly not allowed to participate and they are often left feeling all bad for losing their chastity.
The 48-year-old monarch, King Mswati III who currently has 15 wives picks a new wife from the virgins at the end of the festival.
The festival is also practiced in the Zulu part of South Africa.
Swaziland is one of the poorest nations in southern Africa, with more than 60% of the 1.2 million population living on less than $1 a day.
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