31 August, 2015 – The Umhlanga Reed Dance has become an annual tourist attraction destination, appealing to both national and international spectators. In order for one to witness this yearly spectacle, one has to use either public or private transport to travel to the Ludzidzini arena where more than 90 000 maidens converged this year.
Because one is at risk the moment you jump into a motor vehicle, it is for this reason that the Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accidents Fund (SMVAF) was represented on both main days at the reed dance (30 – 31 August), to provide road safety interventions and messages to motorists, passengers and pedestrians. The Fund erected a billboard at the entrance of the Royal Residence themed ‘Accidents bring tears, safety brings cheers… drive safely’ to inform all motorists and public service vehicles to look out for the maidens who were there on national duty.
The Fund also had a stand in partnership with the Swaziland Tourism Authority (a member of the Road Safety Stakeholder Alliance chaired by SMVAF Chief Executive Officer Helmon Vilakati) and the Swaziland National Trust Commission where brochures, magazines and other promotional materials proclaiming the benefits offered by the Fund to road accident victims were distributed to the observers who came to witness the event. The Fund officers, consisting of Stakeholder Relations Officer Dumisa Dlamini and Investigative Officer Zwelie Malaza had their hands full enlightening the public on the activities the Fund undertakes to ensure minimal road accidents occur, such as the scholar patrol project and the bicycle initiative meant to drive stray livestock away from the roads, amongst others.
Besides the numerous tourists that visited the stand, prominent figures such as the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Paul Dlamini also took time to visit the SMVAF to learn more on road safety. Dlamini was presented with a compact disc of the latest Sincephetelo Star Taxi radio programme which he promised to play when inside his vehicle before he commended the Fund for educating the public on road safety even on important national events such as the Umhlanga. As per the dictates of culture, the next ceremony is expected to be held at the Mbangweni Royal Residence in the Shiselweni region, on a date yet to be announced by Their Majesties through the Imbali regiment leader, Nonduduzo Zibuko.