SWAZILAND, South Africa, Aug. 29 (UPI) — At least 38 Swazi young women and girls were killed in a crash while traveling to an annual ceremony in Swaziland where one of them may have been chosen as the king’s new wife.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network said another 20 young women and girls, up to age 20, were seriously injured when their trucks collided with another vehicle while traveling to the Umhlanga reed dance ceremony, where King Mswati III was expected to pick his 15th wife.
The Times of Swaziland reported two trucks carrying “maidens” hit a Toyota van that police had pulled over on a major highway. Witness Siphelele Sigudla, 18, told the Times there were 50 on board the first truck in the collision.
The girls and women were traveling to the annual reed dance ceremony at the Swazi royal residence in Lobamba, the capital city. The landlocked, Connecticut-sized kingdom has some 1.2 million citizens and is Africa’s last absolute monarchy.