Anyone who thinks polygamy is passé has another think coming. Last Monday, tens of thousands of bare-breasted virgins competed for Swaziland King Mswati III’s eye in a traditional Reed Dance; King Mswati was looking for wife number 14, Reuters report.
Walking through the dense crowds in a leopard skin loin cloth, Southern Africa’s last absolute monarch was eying the booty on display and quite a few women seem not to mind it. They think that getting selected to become King’s wife is the only way to escape from the southern African nation’s hardships for the easy life.
“I came here to dance. I wish the king would have chosen me because it’s nice at the king’s place. The wives live a nice life,” said Tenene Dlamini, 16, in a traditional brown skirt.
Critics say Mswati, who has courted controversy for his lavish lifestyle while two thirds of his subjects live in poverty, sets a bad example by encouraging polygamy and teenage sex in a country where about 40 percent of adults live with HIV.
The Reed Dance has been a big date on the Swaziland cultural calendar since Mswati began the ceremony in 1999.
Some said they would not want to be part of a polygamous arrangement with the king and were taking part in the ceremony to prove their virginity.
Last month, Forbes magazine listed him as the 15th-richest monarch in the world. He was the only African on the list.
During the reed festivities, one of the king’s wives drove up in a fancy BMW. Policemen told people to look the other way.
What other monarchy can compete with such insolence, huh?