Eswatini History

Eswatini History

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). Today Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III (below) 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 is a strong unifying influence.

King Mswati III

The king's appointed prime minister Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini (in office from October 2008 to September 2018) 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.) He was succeeded by Vincent Mhlanga who died on 24th December 2020 from Covid who was in turn succeeded by his deputy Themba Masuku who drew widespread criticism for his handling of the 2021 Eswatini Protests against the monarchy. On 16th July 2021, King Mswati replaced Masuku with Cleopas Dlamini as the new prime minister who is currently in office.

Eswatini Profile: Volunteer in Eswatini (Swaziland)

African Volunteer Work: Eswatini (Swaziland)

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Eswatini History: Life in Eswatini

Life in Eswatini

Life in Eswatini explored in video with facts and figures about life expectancy and the quality of life in Eswatini including details of daily village life for both adults and children.

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Eswatini History: Sponsor Children in Eswatini (Swaziland)

Sponsor Children in Eswatini (Swaziland)

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Eswatini History: Eswatini (Swaziland) Country Profile

African Country Profiles: Eswatini (Swaziland)

In another of our African country profiles, find out all about Eswatini (Swaziland) in a series of information articles, latest daily news, videos, and images together with volunteering and child sponsorship opportunities.

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