Swaziland - a tiny African state, one of several absolute monarchies on earth. King Mswati III rules here, who annually replenishes his harem with a new wife. To do this, the kingdom organizes the Reed Festival, to which they bring 60-70 thousand so-called "virgins"… It is from them that the king chooses his betrothed.
The Reed Festival is the largest celebration in Swaziland. Girls are taken for him from all over the state, tents are set up for them and fed for a week at the expense of the king. Considering that Swaziland is one of the poorest countries, such a “generous” gift is already a great motivation for women to come. By the way, the girls are fed by our standards modestly - semolina porridge and chicken. For a portion of dinner, they stand in a long line at nightfall.
The holiday owes its name to the tradition of collecting reeds, which is used to build a fence for the king and his mother. This fence serves as a sign of wealth. Behind the fence there is a “selection” of brides. By what procedure is unknown, the king announces only his decision, which of the virgins will become the queen.
With the concept of "virginity" in Swaziland, too, things are specific. Firstly, the prohibition of having sex before marriage or until the girl reaches the age of 21 is enshrined in law. If a man unlawfully deprives a girl of her innocence, he is fined one cow or $ 170. Such a norm in the country's legislation appeared due to the HIV / AIDS epidemic and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, the “victim” herself may call herself a virgin even after she has already had intimate relationships with men. In order to be considered chaste again, a girl only needs to repent to the priest and take a vow of further abstinence.
Interestingly, the king himself did not escape the penalty of one cow. The choice of the thirteenth wife for Mswati III was not crowned with success: the girl turned out to be a minor. When the monarch heard the accusation of child molestation from one of the ministers, he reacted "judiciously" to this: first he dismissed the minister (which is indicative, he notified him about it by SMS, here they are, the possibility of an absolute monarchy in the digital age), and then went to to the people, admitted his mistake and … paid a fine.
Of course, for Mswati, one cow is nothing. According to Forbes magazine, the king is among the 15 richest monarchs on the planet. By the way, Mswati also buys out 12 cows for each new wife. At the moment, Mswati has 14 queens, the first two were chosen for him by parliament, and all the next he chose independently. Each next spouse Mswati generously presents gifts - cars, jewelry, palaces.
Due to the fact that each new monarch has dozens of wives (his predecessor, Sobuza II, had seventy), there are hundreds of heirs to the king. So, Sobuza had about two hundred offspring, and at least 400 more (according to local stories) from uncrowned girls. It is also important that all relatives up to the third generation are considered heirs. Mswati is still lagging behind his predecessor: in his 31 years of rule, only 23 heirs were born to him. So Mswati is still ahead.
Swaziland became famous for the fact that King Sobuza II set a world record for the term of office - 82 years. He entered the nine the most famous monarchs who took the throne at a young age… Sobuza II came to power - at four months!
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