Image 1 of 1


LUDZIDZINI, SWAZILAND - AUGUST 30: Unidentified girls dress and prepare before a traditional Reed dance ceremony at the Royal Palace on August 30, 2009, in Ludzidzini, Swaziland. About 80.000 virgins from all over the country attended this yearly event, which goes on for a week and which is the biggest in Swazi culture. Many of the girls stayed in tents and slept on the ground. It was founded to celebrate the beauty of Swazi women and girls. King Mswati III, and absolute monarch, was born in 1968 and he has 14 wives and many children. The king danced with his men in front of the 80.000 girls. Many of the girls hope to get noticed by the king and to be chosen as a future wife, a ticket from poverty and into a life of privilege and luxury. The country is one of the poorest in the world and it is struggling with a high prevalence of HIV-Aids and severe poverty. (Photo by: Per-Anders Pettersson)...