Thousands of Zulu virgins converge at the Enyokeni Zulu Royal Palace in September every year to celebrate the Umkhosi woMhlanga (Reed Dance Festival). The Reed dance is an activity that promotes purity among virgin girls and respect for young women. The festival is part of the annual festivities on the calendar of the Zulu nation. During the Reed dance the virgins fetch the reeds from the river and bring them to the palace for the royal king, King Goodwill Zwelithini to inspect. It was during this festival that the Zulu King chose his youngest wife. Some people criticize this festival, claiming that it disempowers young women who may be made wives at an early age without being given a choice to chose the husband that they like. But to many, this ceremony helps to preserve the custom of keeping girls as virgins until they get married.

zulu maidens