SWAZI princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini is bent on empowering young women.
Dlamini is the first daughter of King Mswati III and Inkhosikati LaMbikiza (Sibonelo Mngomezulu), and one of his 24 children.
Dlamini said she was starting a campaign to empower young girls in her homeland and would officially launch the iMbali Foundation on March 15 in Swaziland. "We are way past the days when a woman's only ambition was to be married," the princess said.
Dlamini, 25, denies media reports of being a rebel in the royal house, wearing miniskirts and being outspoken.
"I have never been a rebel. They say I'm a rebel because I wear miniskirts," she said. "I said I did not want to marry into that [polygamous marriage], but I said that many years ago and my views have changed only slightly since then," she said, to a question about polygamy.
She also said she wanted to change misconceptions about the reed dance, which had been controversial to people outside the landlocked country.
"The reed dance is a time for Swazi maidens to celebrate the monarchy. They cut reeds to create the royal wall," she explained. "The culture has existed for hundreds of years. It is a dance in celebration of virginity."
She said the annual tradition was not a platform for King Mswati to find a wife, as people widely believed.
She said girls who took part in the reed dance did so of their own free will.
Dlamini said as the eldest daughter of King Mswati III and chief maiden, she had pledged to remain a virgin until she married. There was pressure on her to lead by example. However, she respected "the maiden and the cause enough".
Her foundation, she said, would focus on three main aspects – health, education and spirituality. Career guidance would be introduced in schools and the focus would be particularly on girls who lived on the country's borders . "We want to reach and train the girls on the outskirts, who fall prey to rapists and human traffickers," she said.
Care centres would also be made available to teach life skills.
Dlamini said she was using her own funds to start the foundation and was also looking at forming partnerships.