65 girls and young women have been killed in a truck accident in Swaziland while travelling to the king's residence for the annual reed dance.
Every year about 40,000 girls and young women take part in the ceremony, during which King Mswati chooses his new wife.
The eight-day event sees young virgins parade in front of the royal residence, the tradition has come under heavy criticism by rights groups who say the practice is outdated and sexist.
Friday's accident happened when the two vehicles collided along the highway between the capital of Swaziland, eMbabane and eManzini. Witnesses say many of the women were flung out of the truck involved.
Spokesperson for the Swaziland Solidarity network, Lucky Lukhele spoke to Africa Melane on 702 and Cape Talk's Weekend Breakfast saying that this was just an accident and the tradition should not be scrapped.
Lukhele called for two days of prayer for the Swazi nation to mourn the lost lives.
Listen to Africa Melane's conversation with Lukhele below:
This article first appeared on 702 : "Reed Dance tradition should not be scrapped" - Swaziland Solidarity Network