The annual Zulu Royal Reed Dance also known as Umkhosi woMhlanga is set to go ahead despite the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Saturday morning.
Maidens from across the country had already converged at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma when the news broke with more expected to trickle in during the day.
This will be the first reed dance without Buthelezi who has been a towering figure and a staunch advocate of the Zulu nation's traditional and cultural practices.
Some maidens expressed their sadness upon learning of Mangosuthu passing with experts indicating that the annual ceremony will undoubtedly be held under a somber mood.
Cultural and traditional expert Musa Xulu during an interview with Newzroom Afrika described Buthelezi’s death as a “disaster” particularly for the Zulu nation.
“A lot of Zulu tradition was around him. He worked very hard through the KwaZulu Natal government even in the post 1994-era to look after traditional institutions and to ensure that the cultural heritage not only of the Zulu people but of many other traditional communities is maintained in the new South Africa. He was a man of great stature,” he said.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma previously indicated that the reed dance was a fine example of how the celebration of the province’s culture and heritage during Tourism Month provided a platform for sustainable tourism in rural areas.
Meanwhile, security measures have also been put in place to ensure the safety of the maidens.