By Damien Gayle. Published: BST, 5 September ated: BST, 5 September Thousands of bare-breasted young Swazi women paraded themselves in front of their king yesterday in a lavish ceremony to celebrate chastity and unity. Dressed in beaded skirts, clutching mates and mobile phones, women and girls danced and sang tributes to the king and queen mother - also known as the Great She-Elephant - in a traditional Umhlanga Reed Dance to celebrate womanhood and virginity. Those taking part dismissed criticism of the extravagant celebrations on Sunday and Monday, which took place in one of Africa's poorest countries, ruled by the continent's last absolute monarch. Virgins: Maidens sing and dance outside the Queen Mother's Royal Palace after delivering reeds at Ludzidzini in Mbabane, Swaziland, on Sunday, ahead of Monday's Reed Dance. Celebrations: Thousand of virgins took part in the event in honour of a royal family which has in some quarters been criticised for being out of touch with a country where many live in abject poverty.
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Why are you doing this to me? I was at home cooking food. The news outlet was unable to confirm accounts that one woman had died as a result of the trauma.
Witchcraft-related beatings and murder have long been a problem for the island-nation, with local government turning a blind eye. In May, a Papua New Guinea woman was hacked to death after being accused of performing black magic, and in a year-old woman was burned alive on similar charges.
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WARNING: The following video contains extremely disturbing images. A disturbing video has emerged of four women falsely accused of witchcraft being brutally tortured in Papua New Guinea Topless virgins parade in front of Swazi king to celebrate chastity and unity. Participants dismiss criticism of Africa's last remaining absolute monarstimated Reading Time: 4 mins
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