Mpondo Reed Dance 2021 (umgubho wentombi zamaMpondo) educates about GBV, human trafficking and HIV/AIDS

by HRH Stella Sigcau

14 December 2021

Maidens from various parts of the Mpondo Kingdom on 11 December 2021 gathered at Bomvini Great Place, Lwandlolubomvu in Ntabankulu, for the annual Mpondo Reed Dance (Umgubho wentombi zamaMpondo). Mpondo Reed Dance was founded in 2008 to revive and promote the age old customary practice of amaMpondo which encourages young girls to preserve and take care of themselves, enjoy being young and not engage in activities that may compromise themselves and their future including engaging in sexual activities at an early age. The event was also launched to celebrate Mpondo culture and heritage as well as create awareness and educate about HIV/AIDS. The event is multi cultural as it is also attended by maidens from other Kingdoms and promotes unity in a diversity of cultures.

The theme for this year's Reed Dance was, “creating awareness on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and HIV/AIDS whilst celebrating culture and heritage" The event also served as a closing ceremony for the 16 days of activism. Delivering the key note address was Nkosikazi Nobhongo Ngonyama of the National House of Traditional Leaders of South Africa. Municipalities from around the Mpondo Kingdom were represented. Speaking on behalf of the Mayor of Winnie Madikizela Mandela Municipality was Counselor Makholosa. Representatives from SAPS presented on Human trafficking, Social development on GBV and Health on HIV/AIDS. The Department of Health also sponsored sanitizers and masks to ensure that the event adhered to covid regulations. They also had vaccination stations for those who wished to be vaccinated or educated about vaccination.

Johannesburg based specialist and philanthropist Dr Avela Mayekiso educated the maidens on body development, reproductive system and menstrual hygiene and diseases due to lack thereof and Ndlunkulu Nombethe Sigcau, Ndlunkulu Mampuru from the Pedi Kingdom, Ndlunkulu Ncube from the Zulu Kingdom and Ndlunkulu Madikizela commended the maidens for conducting themselves in an exemplinary manner and for being the pride of the nations and encouraged them to continue to treat themselves with dignity. Princess Stella Sigcau II through Khuthaza Ukufunda Initiative donated sanitary towels whilst the Department of Social Development in Ntabankulu donated hygiene packs, soaps and towels to the maidens.

The maidens from the Pedi Kingdom (Mamone) in Limpopo joined the maidens from the Mpondo Kingdom to share and exchange their culture and heritage. Since men are also affected by GBV as perpetrators and as victims, Nkosi Jongilanga Sigcau, Senior Traditional Leader of Lwandlolubomvu Traditional Council who is also the Chairperson of the Alfred Nzo Local House of Traditional Leaders in his address also spoke in this regard and on the important role men should play in the fight against GBV. Speaking on this theme were also Traditional Leaders Nkosi Mthuli from Kwazulu Natal who is also the member of the Kwazulu Natal House of Traditional Leaders, Nkosi Serake Mampuru from the Pedi Kingdom (Mamone) and Nkosi Jongisizwe Madikizela in his welcome address. The Mpondo and Pedi Kingdoms have a partnership on promotion of culture and heritage that dates back to 2004 which also includes sharing and exchanging of their relative cultures.
The guests were entertained by Pedi and Mpondo traditional groups.