Young Women in Contemporary Zulu Society

by Sandra Klopper
University of Cape Town

Married women, who have accompanied the girls from their homes, wearing traditional dress, including large beaded panels, Zulu peoples, South Africa. Photo by Sandra Klopper.

These speeches are given in front of an audience consisting of members of the royal family, the king's male entourage (who are said to attend the Reed Ceremony in search of potential brides), various invited guests, members of the press, and a host of married women. In most cases the latter group, who are entrusted with the task of overseeing and accompany girls from their own districts to the Reed Ceremony, arrive in "traditional dress, including headdresses covered in elaborately beaded panels. The style of the headdresses and beaded panels worn by the women in page twelve of this essay suggests that they may be members of the Ibandia lamaNazaretha, a flourishing independent church combining Christian practice and ancestral veneration, which was founded by Isaiah Shembe in 1911.