LUDZIDZINI ROYAL VILLAGE, Swaziland (Reuters) – More
than 50,000 bare-breasted virgins vied to become the King of Swaziland’s
13th wife on Monday in a ceremony which critics say ill befits a country
with the world’s highest HIV/AIDS rate.
III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, arrived dressed
in a leopard-skin loincloth to watch the Reed Dance ceremony, which he
has used since 1999 to pluck new brides from the girls dressed in little
more than beaded mini-skirts.
Wielding machetes and singing tributes to the king and queen mother, also
known as the Great She-Elephant, the girls danced around the royal stadium
in the hope of catching the eye of the 37-year-old monarch.
"I want to live a nice life, have money, be rich, have a BMW and cellphone," said
one dancer, 16-year-old Zodwa Mamba, who wore a traditional brightly colored
Who doesn’t? Wonder if they test for performance-enhancing
story from Reuters