Calls for counselling for Reed Dance festival crash survivors
The girls were going to cut reeds ahead of the festival where the King usually selects a new wife.
JOHANNESBURG - The Swaziland Solidarity Network has called for urgent counselling for the survivors of a fatal crash en route to the annual reed dance festival.
Swaziland officials claim 13 girls died in Friday's collision.
The group was traveling to King Mswati III's palace when the open truck they were being transported in collided with a car before being struck from behind by another truck.
The girls were going to cut reeds ahead of the festival, where the King usually selects a new wife.
The network's Lucky Lukhele says the girls should have received immediate counselling instead of participating in the festival.
"Release most of the girls, especially those who survived and witnessed the death of their friends, to be taken in for medical counselling so as to get them to accept and understand what happened."
LISTEN: Swaziland Solidarity Network calls for Reed Dance to be scrapped.
The Umhlanga Reed Dance has in the past involved bare-breasted young Swazi women dancing and singing in beaded mini-skirts to catch the eye of Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.
The festival is meant to celebrate womanhood and virginity.
Thousands of young women descend on the royal residence from all over the nation every year, but in a country where relatively few families own vehicles and where infrastructure is poor, many are squeezed onto open trucks.