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Where are you going next?

 Africa86 votes
76.11%
 South America3 votes
2.65%
 Europe3 votes
2.65%
 Eastern Asia5 votes
4.42%
 Carribean9 votes
7.96%
 Safeway5 votes
4.42%
 Australia2 votes
1.77%
total votes: 113
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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"Let me listen to me and not to them." -- Gertrude Stein

178--Swaziland: Dancing with the Swazis
@ CherieSpotting     Jan 27 2004 - 06:33 PST
cherie writes: I had my fortune told by a sangoma in Swaziland. The spiritual healer took me in a hut and asked me to repeat my name until she could master the strange syllables. Soon she was chanting “Cherie, Cherie, Cherie” and I was so entranced that it wouldn’t have surprised me if a thousand copies of me had fell from the sky.

I sat on a rug on the dirt floor of the hut looking at the preserved head of a growling lion. Then the sangoma threw a bunch of rocks, shells and bones onto a mat and examined their positions. According to their spacing, she informed me that I am “unsettled.” I wanted to say "Duh", but I didn't know how to speak bantu. Plus, "duh" isn't so polite. Then she said that one day I am going to have three children!

I raised my eyebrows. Three kids!!! I asked the translator to ask the sangoma to throw the rocks again. Maybe she’d get a different answer. The rocks said three kids. Who can argue with the rocks?

Renee and I (and a few new friends) visited Swaziland, a landlocked country bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. Swaziland is one of the last three monarchies on the continent of Africa. Smaller than the state of New Jersey, Swaziland is home to over a million Swazis. The main religion is called “Zionist” which is a blend of Christianity and ancestral worship.

The Swazis are a friendly Bantu-speaking people with a polygamous culture. (But each wife has her own hut!) We visited the Ligugu Lemaswati Cultural Village which means “pride of the Swazi people.” We enjoyed breakfast by a river, and then explored the village. Before we left the Swazis treated us to a Sibhaca dance, which is a rhythmic energetic foot dance complete with singing and pounding drums.

I'll end this with "Ngiyabonga". That's how a Swazi would say "Thank you."

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Cherie doing the Sibhaca dance with the Swazis in Swaziland. *Photo by Renee.

Cherie doing the Sibhaca dance with the Swazis in Swaziland. *Photo by Renee.

The friendly Swazis put on an unforgettable dance show for us.

The friendly Swazis put on an unforgettable dance show for us.

A Swazi dressed in a traditional loinskin.

A Swazi dressed in a traditional loinskin.

The bare-breasted virgins.

The bare-breasted virgins.

Did we go back in time?

Did we go back in time?

One of these women is really American.  (My friend Annette is on the right.)

One of these women is really American. (My friend Annette is on the right.)

Taking a break.

Taking a break.

The older ladies dance.

The older ladies dance.

Then the younger ladies dance.

Then the younger ladies dance.

Finally, the tourists dance!  (Look how big I look!) *Photo by Renee.

Finally, the tourists dance! (Look how big I look!) *Photo by Renee.

Annette dances with the Swazis.

Annette dances with the Swazis.

Those Swazis know how to dance.

Those Swazis know how to dance.

Look at all the colorful Swazi clothing.

Look at all the colorful Swazi clothing.

Could happiness be living in a hut?

Could happiness be living in a hut?

The Ligugu Lemaswati Cultural Village.

The Ligugu Lemaswati Cultural Village.

Beautiful smile.

Beautiful smile.

Teaching the tourists how to cook.

Teaching the tourists how to cook.

Annette, from the USA, makes herself at home in a hut.

Annette, from the USA, makes herself at home in a hut.

A hut.

A hut.

Swazi woman.

Swazi woman.

The Swazis love that Annette is both American and black.

The Swazis love that Annette is both American and black.

A sangoma reads my future.

A sangoma reads my future.

Those rocks, bones and shells said I was going to have three kids!  Ahhhhh!

Those rocks, bones and shells said I was going to have three kids! Ahhhhh!

Will and Tim.

Will and Tim.

Jill gets a little sun while she waits to have her future read.

Jill gets a little sun while she waits to have her future read.

Renee and Caitlyn near a Swazi hut.

Renee and Caitlyn near a Swazi hut.

Now there's a photo!  A Swazi with a cel phone!

Now there's a photo! A Swazi with a cel phone!

Annette dressed up like a Swazi.

Annette dressed up like a Swazi.

Cherie explores the village. *Photo by Tim.

Cherie explores the village. *Photo by Tim.

Will gives Annette a different look.

Will gives Annette a different look.

Young Swazi.

Young Swazi.

The median age in Swaziland is 18.5 years old.

The median age in Swaziland is 18.5 years old.

Cherie by the chicken coop.  *Photo by Tim.

Cherie by the chicken coop. *Photo by Tim.

Where's Cherie?  She's with the Swazis.  *Photo by Renee.

Where's Cherie? She's with the Swazis. *Photo by Renee.

Amir didn't complain when he got to dance with the Swazi virgins.  *Photo by Renee.

Amir didn't complain when he got to dance with the Swazi virgins. *Photo by Renee.

Josh dancing with the Swazis. *Photo by Tim.

Josh dancing with the Swazis. *Photo by Tim.

I didn't blend in very well.

I didn't blend in very well.

Jill, Amir and Renee enjoy a morning cup of coffee in Swaziland.

Jill, Amir and Renee enjoy a morning cup of coffee in Swaziland.

Josh (13) took a father-son trip to Africa with his dad Tim.

Josh (13) took a father-son trip to Africa with his dad Tim.