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is the main ritual of kingship in the Kingdom of Eswatini. This is a national event
that takes place during the summer solstice. The main participant in incwala is the King of Eswatini when
there is no king there is no takes place over a period of time of about a month, starting with
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Why is incwala celebrated?!What is Incwala ceremony?!What really happens during Incwala?!Where is incwala held in Swaziland?!
is the main ritual of kingship in the Kingdom of Eswatini. This is a national event that takes
place during the summer solstice. The main participant in the King of Eswatini; when there is no king there
The ritual is controlled by national priests known as Bemanti (people of the water),
or Belwandle (people of the sea), because they fetch river- and sea-water to strengthen the King. The leader of
these men is a chief of the Ndwandwe clan who is assisted by other male relatives. Another leader is of the
Ndwandwe clan from the Elwandle royal village. These men go and fetch water and herbs respectively in the
nation’s rivers and the sea.
The other important individuals are tinsila (artificial blood-brothers of the king), and especially the left-
hand insila, who shadow the King throughout the performance. On the other hand, the princes and hereditary
chiefs who do not belong to the royal (Dlamini) clan are never in close contact with him. The princes should,
however, be present, but they cannot enter the sanctuary at the crucial moment of the ritual. Certain chiefs,
other than Dlamini, may not attend the incwala for they are so powerful that their personality might fight that
of the King and injure him. By their exclusion they accept the supremacy of the Dlamini, and show their
relative independence in their own local ceremonies. Some of their subjects, however, must attend. Finally, the
regiments, the rank and file of the nation play a major part in the public ceremonies and are
quartered in barracks in the capital for the duration of the Incwala. The rank and file of the nation, the majority
of the participants, arrive in local contingents led by their chief or his representative. They come to support
The duty of organizing the whole ceremony, seeing that it is held on the correct date, preparing the utensils,
providing the requisite ingredients, and informing the nation devolves on the governors of the royal villages,
and the mobilizing for each scene of the drama belongs to the regimental officials.
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