Swaziland Facts

The history of the current Kingdom of Swaziland can be traced back 200,000 years as Stone Age artifacts have been found in the region as well as pre-historic rock art dating from around 25,000 BCE.

Whilst home to a number of peoples, the Swazis, descendants of the Bantu, migrated to the area in the 15th and 16th centuries.

By the late nineteenth century Africa was becoming heavily colonised and Swaziland came under joint British and the Boer Republic of Transvaal rule before becoming a British protectorate in 1903.

In 1968 Swaziland gained its independence from Britain and adopted a new constitution as a parliamentary democracy, albeit with some members of that parliament nominated by the monarch. However five years later, King Sobhuza suspended the constitution and banned all political parties, with the parliament being relegated to having a mere advisory role comprising both the monarch's nominees and candidates nominated by local councils (Tinkhundlas).

King Mswati IIIToday Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III (right) as an absolute monarchy with all political parties still banned. Despite this ban there are regular outpouring of civil disturbances which are brutally put down by the regime. It has been described as "as an island of dictatorship in a sea of democracy" however King Mswati counters that the country is not ready for greater democracy believing that such democracy creates divisions and that as a monarch he has a strong unifying influence.

Recently the king's appointed prime minister Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, has said that the government will consider using 'sipakatane' to "punish dissidents and foreigners who come to the country and disturb the peace" (this being a form of torture where the feet are repeatedly hit with nail embedded rods.)


Swaziland Facts

Swaziland Facts

Swaziland Facts

Swaziland Facts



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Swaziland Facts This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Swaziland Facts

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Swaziland is about the size of Wales and has a current population of some one million with about a quarter of its people requiring food assistance. Swaziland is now the world's leading country for HIV/AIDS with over 50% of adults over the age of twenty infected.

The situation is so dire that the very existence of the country is under threat with the United Nations noting that if the infection rate continues unabated the Swazi population will be wiped out in the forthcoming decades. In fact 2% of the country's entire population is dying every years from AID related illnesses.

This video about Swaziland (above) is certainly a propaganda tool, air brushing from history the challenges the country faces however it provides an insight into life in the kingdom.


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