The Imbali Foundation
Every year at the time of the Umhlanga Reed dance, a unique and very colourful annual event held in the Kingdom of Swaziland during the last week of August or first week of September, tens of thousands of maidens from all regions and all sectors of society gather at Lobamba, the traditional capital of Swaziland and seat of the Queen Mother’s residence.
They gather as equals to pay homage to the Queen Mother, the mother of the King and Co-regent, to pledge to keep themselves pure and show off that purity with pride. This event is the one time they take centre stage for all to see and they use this stage to sing and dance the traditionally choreographed performance with songs mainly passed on to them from the girls before but also often self-composed expressing their personal challenges in song and accentuated with unique dance moves.
This is an occasion to show off, make new friends and share experiences that help in the individual’s growth. This once-a-year event is what inspired the Imbali Foundation concept of empowerment for the girl child. Here the different personas are all meeting and forming one unit allowing each to shine and excel. The Imbali Foundation wants to take this enabling environment a step further using deep-rooted traditions and modern knowledge to effectively empower.
The Foundation is an initiative of HRH Princess Sikhanyiso and was founded as a way of helping to address the unique set of problems and challenges that the Girl Child is faced with in Swaziland. The Imbali Foundation will be using deep rooted traditions and structures to address today’s predicaments.
The Foundation’s mission is to foster feelings of self-worth in the Girl Child, raising enlightened, respectful, and strong-willed women in every region and to nurture and actuate the hopes and dreams of the Girl Child. The Foundation was envisioned to impart the idea that in diversity, there is beauty and strength.