Business came to a halt in Bulawayo this afternoon when adolescents clad in colourful traditional attire with their breasts exposed strolled across the city.
The girls believed to be from Kwazulu Natal in neighbouring South Africa, sparked a frenzy of picture taking as people reached for their cell phones.
It was clearly something out of the ordinary, in a country where such behaviour attracts an indecent exposure charge that can attract a custodial sentence.
Their appearance showed the way the original Ndebele culture- where it was customary for unmarried girls or virgins not to cover their breast- has evolved as the majority of the crowd that seemed spellbound by the spectacle were Ndebeles.
It is believed in Kwazulu, where the Ndebeles have their roots, it is still normal to see such maidens.
A group of men and elder women who accompanied the at least 15 girls had a torrid time trying to stop the picture takers.
The girls appeared to be an instant hit with most of the men who were in the crowd with a majority of them cheering the girls.
However, most of the women in the crowd seemed unamused.
“Oh my God, what is this? Move out of the way I want to take a picture,” said an old man who had his mobile phone on the ready.
“This is indecency, call the police!” shouted a woman.
The girls are suspected to have come to Zimbabwe for commemorations to mark the 146th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Ndebele nation at Mhlahlandlela memorial site, 22 kilometres south of Bulawayo.
The crowd dispersed after the girls boarded a vehicle at the City Hall on their way to Mhlahlandlela for the annual commemorations.
King Mzilikazi was born the son of Matshobana near Mkuze, in 1790 in South Africa. In 1823 he crossed the Limpopo River during the umfecane after having a fallout with Zulu King Shaka and finally settled in Matabeleland in the 1830s, establishing his capital at Mhlahlandlela.
King Mzilikazi raided a number of tribes on his way and moulded them into the fearsome Ndebele nation.
He is believed to have died on 5 September in 1868 and was buried in a cave at the Matopo Hills.