Eswatini’s most well-known cultural event is the annual Umhlanga Reed Dance. In the eight-day ceremony, girls cut reeds, present them to the Queen Mother and then dance. It is done in late August or early September. Only childless, unmarried girls can take part. The aims of the ceremony are to preserve girls virginity, provide tribute labour for the Queen Mother and to encourage solidarity by working together. The royal family appoints a commoner maiden to be “induna” (captain) of the girls and she announces the dates of the annual ceremony over the radio. The chosen induna is expected to be an expert dancer and knowledgeable on royal protocol. One of the king’s daughters acts as her counterpart during the ceremony. The Reed Dance today is not an ancient ceremony but a development of the old “umchwasho” custom. In “umchwasho”, all young girls were placed in a female age-regiment. If any girl became pregnant outside of marriage, her family paid a fine of one cow to the local chief. After a number of years, when the girls had reached a marriageable age, they would perform labour service for the queen mother, ending with dancing and feasting. The country was under the rite of “umchwasho” until 2005.