Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Nongoma - As thousands of maidens are gathering at Enyokeni Palace to celebrate Umkhosi Womhlanga, some of them have appealed for respect for women and children and called for government to act decisively against abusive men.

They spoke to the media as they were delivering reeds to King Goodwill Zwelithini at his palace in Nongoma, Zululand, on Saturday.

The event is a platform for the king to advise the virgins about how to behave properly in order to avoid sexual activities before they are ready to do so.

Yandisa Ngcobo from Inanda in Durban said maidens were unhappy about the abuse of women.

“We are the flowers of the nation and those who are abusing us should be protecting us,” she said.

Ngcobo said there should be awareness campaigns against women and child abuse.

“We need to see perpetrators being punished for their actions as we are concerned about corruption within law enforcement, which is leading to accused escaping the law,” she said. 

Samkelisiwe Gazu from Ntuzuma, north of Durban, described women abuse as “atrocious”.

“If men who should be protecting us are abusing us, who else are we going to run to for protection? We need the government to create a platform, which is in the form of a summit, for women to express their pain about what is happening,” said Gazu.

Umkhosi Womhlanga, which is also known as the Reed Dance, happened on the backdrop of recent incidents such as the murder of University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana who was allegedly killed by a post office worker.     

In another incident in Durban, four children, aged between four and 16, were killed in Pinetown allegedly by their father who had fallout with their mother.

King’s spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu said the Royal Family was also concerned about the killings and rapes of women and children.

“In December we are going to hold an event to advise young men against abusing women, and help them grow to be upright people. It does not help to have we;; behaving girls when we don’t have boys who will be proper men,” said the prince.    

Politics Bureau