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Kingdom of Swaziland Umbuso weSwatini 2007 estimate 2004 census Density 1,141,0001 (154th) 1.1 million 59/km2 (135th) 265/sq mi 2008 estimate $5.761 billion[1] $5,635[1] 2008 estimate $2.843 billion[1] $2,781[1] 60.9 (high) ▲ 0.547 (medium) (141st) Lilangeni (SZL) (UTC+2) left .sz 268

GDP (PPP) Total Per capita
Flag Coat of arms

Motto: "Siyinqaba" (Swati)
"We are a fortress" "We are a mystery/riddle" "We hide ourselves away"

GDP (nominal) Total Per capita Gini (1994) HDI (2007) Currency Time zone Drives on the Internet TLD Calling code

Anthem: Nkulunkulu Mnikati wetibusiso temaSwati


Lobamba (royal and

Mbabane (administrative;
coordinates below) 26°19′S 31°8′E / 26.317°S 31.133°E / -26.317; 31.133

Largest city Official languages Demonym Government King Indlovukazi Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister

Mbabane English, SiSwati Swazi Absolute Monarchy Mswati III Queen Ntombi Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini Themba N. Masuku

Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.

Independence from the United Kingdom Area Total Water (%)

6 September 1968

17,364 km2 (157th) 6,704 sq mi 0.9


The Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini) is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south, and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II. The area that Swaziland covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily Bantuspeaking ethnic Swazis. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries together with the Xhosas and the Zulus, which belong to the Nguni subgroup. The Swazi ancestors, the Nkosi Dlamini, broke away from the mainstream of Nguni migrants led by Chief Ngwane, and settled in the region of the Pongolo river absorbing the Nguni and Sotho clans in the area.


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By 1750 they had settled in the Hluti region in the south of the Kingdom, under King Ngwane III of the Nkosi Dlamini clan. A British protectorate following the end of the Second Boer War, it gained independence in 1968. Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations. Swaziland’s economy is dominated by services industry, agriculture and subsistence farming. Growth has been hampered by the effects of HIV and AIDS, the prevalence of which is the highest in the world at 38.8%. [2]

repeated representations especially relating to land issues by the King and his Councilors which affected the political process, were rebuffed. Nevertheless, the Swaziland independence Constitution was promulgated by Britain in November 1963 in terms of which a legislative Council and an Executive Council were established. This development was opposed by the Swazi National Council (liqoqo), as it was not in accord with the wishes and aspirations of the Swazi Nation. Despite such opposition, elections took place and the first Legislative Council of Swaziland was constituted on 9 September 1964. Changes to the original constitution proposed by the Legislative Council, were accepted by Britain and a new Constitution providing for a House of Assembly and Senate, was drawn up. Elections under this Constitution were held in 1967. Since 1973, Swaziland has seen a rather quiet struggle between pro-multiparty activists and the monarchy.

Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age 200,000 years ago have been found in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Prehistoric rock art paintings date from ca. 25,000 B.C. and continue up to the 19th century. The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers. They were largely replaced by the Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations who hailed from the Great Lakes regions of Eastern Africa. Evidence of agriculture and iron use dates from about the 4th century, and people speaking languages ancestral to current Sotho and Nguni languages began settling no later than the 11th century. The Bantu people known as the Swazis established iron-working and settled farming colonies in the 15th century after crossing the Limpopo river. They experienced great economic pressure from the rival Ndwandwe clans from the south.[3] The country derives its name from a later King, Mswati I. However, Ngwane is an alternative name for Swaziland and Dlamini remains the surname of the royal family, while the name Nkosi means King. The historical evolution of the autonomy of the Swaziland Nation was dictated by British rule of southern Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1881 the British government signed a convention recognizing Swazi independence. However, controversial land and mineral rights concessions were made under the authority of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890 in terms of which the administration of Swaziland was also placed under that of the then South African Republic (Transvaal). At the commencement of the Anglo Boer war, Britain placed Swaziland under its direct jurisdiction as a Protectorate and

See also: Foreign relations of Swaziland and Military of Swaziland The head of state is the king or Ngwenyama (lit. Lion), currently King Mswati III, who ascended to the throne in 1986 after the death of his father King Sobhuza II in 1982 and a period of regency. By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual substitute, the Ndlovukati (lit. She-Elephant). The former was viewed as the administrative head of state and the latter as a spiritual and national head of state, with real power counter-balancing that of the king, but during the long reign of Sobhuza II the role of the Ndlovukati became more symbolic. As the monarch, the king not only appoints the prime minister — the head of government — but also appoints a small number of representatives for both chambers of the Libandla (parliament). The Senate consists of 30 members, while the House of Assembly has 65 seats, 55 of which are occupied by nominated representatives. Elections are held every five years in November. In 1968, Swaziland adopted a Westminster-style constitution, but in 1973 King Sobhuza suspended it under a royal decree backed by the royalist majority of parliament: in effect a coup by the government


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constituency and for each constituency the three candidates with the most votes in the first round of voting are narrowed to a single winner by a second round

Administrative Divisions

Embassy of Swaziland in Washington, D.C. against its own constitution. The State of Emergency has since been lifted, or so the government claims even though political activities, especially by pro-democracy movements, are suppressed. In 2001 King Mswati III appointed a committee to draft a new constitution. Drafts were released for comment in May 1999 and November 2000. These were strongly criticized by civil society organizations in Swaziland and human rights organizations elsewhere. In 2005, the constitution was put into effect, though there is still much debate in the country about the constitutional reforms. From the early seventies, there was active resistance to the royal hegemony. The Swazi bicameral Parliament or Libandla consists of the Senate (30 seats; 10 members appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed by the monarch; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats; 10 members appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by popular vote; to serve five-year terms) elections: House of Assembly - last held 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013) election results: House of Assembly - balloting is done on a non party basis; candidates for election are nominated by the local council of each

Administrative divisions of Swaziland Swaziland is divided into four districts: • Hhohho • Lubombo • Manzini • Shiselweni


Swaziland lies across this great geological fault which runs from the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho, north through the


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densely populated region of Swaziland with a lower rainfall than the mountains. Manzini, the principal commercial and industrial city, is situated in the Middleveld. The Lowveld of Swaziland, at around 250 meters, is less populated than other areas and presents a typical African bush country of thorn trees and grasslands. Development of the region was inhibited, in early days, by the scourge of malaria. The seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere with December being mid-summer and June mid-winter. Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms. Winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld in the West, between 1000 and 2000 mm depending on the year. The further East, the less rain, with the Lowveld recording 500 to 900 mm per annum. Variations in temperature are also related to the altitude of the different regions. The Highveld temperature is temperate and, seldom, uncomfortably hot while the Lowveld may record temperatures around 40 degrees in summer.Swaziland is a year-round destination with plenty of sunshine. Whatever your favourite activity; hiking, pony-trekking, golf, it may be enjoyed at any time. There are, however, a couple of points to note. The vegetation in Nature Reserves is at its thickest during the summer months and those keen on game viewing should visit during winter. On the other hand, bird watchers are advised to visit Swaziland during the summer months as some species are migratory and the greatest number of birds will be seen at this time. The average temperatures at Mbabane, according to seasons: Spring September - October 18 degrees Celsius Summer November - March 20 degrees Celsius Autumn April - May 17 degrees Celsius Winter June - August 13 degrees Celsius

Landscape of Swaziland. Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe, forms the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and, eventually, peters out in present-day Turkey. A small, land-locked Kingdom, Swaziland is bordered in the North, West and South by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the East. Although Swaziland has a land area of only 17,364 sq km, roughly the size of Wales or the American State of New Jersey, it contains four separate geographical regions. These run from North to South and are determined by altitude. Swaziland is located at approximately 26o49’S, 31o38’E.[4]. Swaziland also offers a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the Mozambican border to savannas in the east and rain forest in the northwest. Several rivers flow through the country, such as the Great Usuthu River.

Swaziland though very small in size has four different regions determined by altitude. In all four regions, there are different life styles. It is quite interesting to stay in the eastern part of the country and learn the day to day home activities. Migrating to the west or center of the country one feels like he is in a different country. Along the eastern border with Mozambique is the Lubombo, a mountain ridge, at an altitude of around 600 meters. The mountains are broken by the gorges of three rivers, the Ngwavuma, the Usutu and the Mbuluzi. This is cattle ranching country. The Highveld, along the western border of the country, with an average altitude of 1200 meters, lies on the edge of the escarpment. Between the mountains rivers rush and tumble through deep gorges making this a most scenic region. Mbabane, the capital, is located on the Highveld. Spectacular views may be enjoyed out over the Middleveld, lying at an average 700 meters above sea level. This is the most

Swaziland ’s economy is fairly diversified, with agriculture, forestry and mining accounting for about 13 percent of GDP, manufacturing (textiles and sugar-related processing) representing 37 percent of GDP and services – with government services in the


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lead – constituting 50 percent of GDP. Title Deed Lands (TDLs), where the bulk of high value crops are grown (sugar, forestry, and citrus) are characterized by high levels of investment and irrigation, and high productivity. Nevertheless, the majority of the population – about 75 percent -- is employed in subsistence agriculture on Swazi Nation Land (SNL), which, in contrast, suffers from low productivity and investment. This dual nature of the Swazi economy, with high productivity in textile manufacturing and in the industrialized agricultural TDLs on the one hand, and declining productivity subsistence agriculture (on SNL) on the other, may well explain the country’s overall low growth, high inequality and unemployment. Economic growth in Swaziland has lagged behind that of its neighbors. Real GDP growth since 2001 has averaged 2.8 percent, nearly 2 percentage points lower than growth in other Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member countries. Low agricultural productivity in the SNLs, repeated droughts, the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS and an overly large and inefficient government sector are likely contributing factors. Swaziland’s public finances deteriorated in the late 1990s following sizable surpluses a decade earlier. A combination of declining revenues and increased spending led to significant budget deficits. The considerable spending did not lead to more growth and did not benefit the poor. Much of the increased spending has gone to current expenditures related to wages, transfers, and subsidies. The wage bill today constitutes over 15 percent of GDP and 55 percent of total public spending; these are some of the highest levels on the African continent. The recent rapid growth in SACU revenues has, however, reversed the fiscal situation, and a sizable surplus was recorded since 2006. SACU revenues today account for over 60 percent of total government revenues. On the positive side, the external debt burden has declined markedly over the last 20 years, and domestic debt is almost negligible; external debt as a percent of GDP was less than 20 percent in 2006. The Swazi economy is very closely linked to the South African economy, from which it receives over 90 percent of its imports and to which it sends about 70 percent of its exports. Swaziland’s other key trading partners are the United States and the EU, from whom

the country has received trade preferences for apparel exports (under the African Growth and Opportunity Act – AGOA – to the US) and for sugar (to the EU). Under these agreements, both apparel and sugar exports did well, with rapid growth and a strong inflow of foreign direct investment. Textile exports grew by over 200 percent between 2000 and 2005 and sugar exports increasing by more than 50 percent over the same period. The continued vibrancy of the export sector is threatened by the removal of trade preferences for textiles, the accession to similar preferences for East Asian countries, and the phasing out of preferential prices for sugar to the EU market. Swaziland will thus have to face the challenge of remaining competitive in a changing global environment. A crucial factor in addressing this challenge is the investment climate. The recently concluded Investment Climate Assessment provides some positive findings in this regard, namely that Swaziland firms are among the most productive in Sub-Saharan Africa, although they are less productive than firms in the most productive middle-income countries in other regions. They compare more favorably with firms from lower middle income countries, but are hampered by inadequate governance arrangements and infrastructure. Swaziland’s currency is pegged to the South African rand, subsuming Swaziland’s monetary policy to South Africa. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union, which may equal as much as 70% of government revenue this year, and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income. Swaziland is not poor enough to merit an IMF program; however, the country is struggling to reduce the size of the civil service and control costs at public enterprises. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign investment.

HIV Crisis
Like many subsaharan African countries Swaziland is severely affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. In 2004, Swaziland acknowledged for the first time that it suffered an AIDS crisis, with 38.8% of tested pregnant women infected with HIV (see AIDS in Africa). Prime Minister Themba Dlamini declared a humanitarian crisis due to the


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combined effect of drought, land degradation, increased poverty, and HIV/AIDS.

and dancing. The diviner is consulted for various reasons pertaining to the cause of sickness or even death. His diagnosis is based on "kubhula", a process of communication, through trance, with the natural superpowers. The Inyanga (a medical and pharmaceutical specialist in modern terms) possesses the bone throwing skill ("kushaya ematsambo") used to determine the cause of the sickness. Traditional Food: sishwala: thick porridge normally served with meat or vegetables incwancwa: sour porridge made of fermented cornmeal sitfubi: fresh milk cooked and mixed with cornmeal siphuphe setindlubu: thick porridge made of mashed groundnuts emasi etinkhobe temmbila: ground corn mixed with sour milk emasi emabele: ground sorghum mixed with sour milk sidvudvu: porridge made of pumpkin mixed with cornmeal umncweba: dried uncooked meat (biltong) umkhunsu: cooked and dried meat siphuphe semabhontjisi: thick porridge made of mashed beans tinkhobe: boiled whole maize umbidvo wetintsanga: cooked pumpkin tops (leaves) mixed with groundnuts tjwala (umcombotsi): traditional beer The most important cultural event in Swaziland is the Incwala ceremony. It is held on the fourth day after the full moon nearest the longest day, December 21. Incwala is often given in English as ’first fruits ceremony’, but the King’s tasting of the new harvest is only one aspect among many in this long pageant. Incwala is best translated as ’Kingship Ceremony’ : when there is no king, there is no Incwala. It is high treason for any other person to hold an Incwala. Every Swazi may take part in the public parts of the Incwala, especially the climax, the fourth day of the Big Incwala. The key figures are the King, Queen Mother, royal wives and children, the royal governors (indunas), the chiefs, the regiments, and the "bemanti" or ’water people’. At full moon in November, the "bemanti" set off from the Queen Mothers home, in 2 groups: 1. the big group goes to kaTembe


Swazi people dancing in a cultural village show. See also: Music of Swaziland The Swazi Homestead The principle Swazi social unit remains the homestead. The traditional beehive hut is thatched with dry grass. In a polygamous homestead, each wife normally has her own huts and yard surrounded by reed fences for privacy. These comprise three structures mainly for sleeping, cooking and storage (brewing beer). In substantial homesteads there will also be structures used as bachelors’ quarters and guest accommodation. Central to the traditional homestead is the cattle byre, a circular area enclosed by substantial logs interspaced with branches. The cattle byre has great ritual as well as practical significance as a store of wealth and symbol of prestige. It contains sealed grain pits. Facing the cattle byre is the great hut which is occupied by the mother of the headman. The headman is central to all homestead affairs and he is often polygamous. He leads through example and advises his wives on all social affairs of the home as well as seeing to the larger survival of the family. He also spends time socializing with the young boys, who are ofthen his sons or close relatives, talking about the expectations of growing up and manhood. The Sangoma is a traditional diviner chosen by the ancestors of that particular family. The training of the Sangoma is called "kwetfwasa". At the end of the training, there is a graduation ceremony where all the local tangoma come together for feasting


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(Catembe, south of Maputo), to collect seawater, 2. the small group goes north, collecting water from rivers. The "bemanti" return to the royal capital with the new moon in December. Then the Little Incwala takes place: two days of dance, song and ritual. 14 days later The Big Incwala begins. Day 1: Fetching the Lusekwane (sickle bush/Dichrostachys cinerea) unmarried male youths set off from the Queen Mothers village and march 50 kilometres to cut branches of the "lusekwane" under the light of the full moon. Dropping the Lusekwane the boys place their "lusekwane" branches in the national cattle byre/kraal. The elders weave these branches in between the poles of the "inhlambelo" - the king’s private sanctuary. Day 3: Day of the Bull morning: young boys cut branches of the "black imbondvo" (red bushwillow/Combretum apiculatum) and these are added to-the "inhlambelo". afternoon: while the king is receiving traditional medicines in his sanctuary, a black "bull" charges out. The "lusekwane" boys catch and overpower the beast and return it to the sanctuary. It is slaughtered and provides ritual ingredients for the doctoring of the king. Day 4: Eating the First Fruits and Throwing the Gourd The main day: all the key players perform in a spectacular pageant inside the cattle byre; the king and regiments appear in full war-dress. The king bites and spits out certain plants of the first harvest in his "inhlambelo". Then he emerges to throw the sacred gourd "luselwa", which is caught on a black shield by one of the "lusekwane" boys. Day 5: Day of Abstinence The king sits in seclusion in the "great hut". The "bemanti" roam the royal capital in daylight hours, enforcing the rules of this day: no sexual contact, touching water, wearing decorations, sitting on chairs/mats, shaking hands, scratching, singing, dancing or gayness. Day 6: Day of the Log The regiments march to a forest and return with firewood. The elders prepare a great fire in the centre of the cattle byre. On it, certain ritual objects are burnt, signifying the end of the old year, while the key players dance and sing inside the byre. The king remains in seclusion until the next full moon, when the "lusekwane" branches are removed and burnt.


Swaziland’s most well-known cultural event is the annual Reed Dance. In an eight day ceremony, girls cut reeds and present them to the queen mother and then dance. (There is no formal competition) It is done in late August or early September. Only childless, unmarried girls can take part. The aims of the ceremony are to: 1. preserve girls’ chastity 2. provide tribute labour for the Queen mother 3. produce solidarity by working together. The royal family appoints a commoner maiden to be "induna" (captain) of the girls and she announces over the radio the dates of the ceremony. She will be an expert dancer and knowledgeable on royal protocol. One of the King’s daughters will be her counterpart. The country was under the chastity rite of "umchwasho" until 19 August 2005. Day 1: The girls gather at the Queen Mothers royal village. Today this is at Ludzidzini, in Sobhuza’s time it was at Lobamba. They come in groups from the 200 or so chiefdoms and are registered for security. They are supervised by men, usually four, appointed by each chief. They sleep in the huts of relatives in the royal villages or in the classrooms of the four nearby schools. Day 2: The girls are separated into two groups, the older (about 14 to 22 years) and the younger (about 8 to 13). In the afternoon, they march, in their local groups, to the reedbeds, with their supervisors. The older girls often go to Ntondozi (about 30 kilometres) while the younger girls usually go to Bhamsakhe near Malkerns (about 10 kilometres). If the older girls are sent to Mphisi Farm, government will provide lorries for their transport. The girls reach the vicinity of the reeds in darkness, and sleep in governmentprovided tents I marquees. Formerly the local people would have accommodated them in their homesteads. Day 3: The girls cut their reeds, usually about to ten to twenty, using long knives. Each girl ties her reeds into one bundle. Nowadays they use strips of plastic bags for the tying, but those mindful of tradition will still cut grass and plait it into rope. Day 4: In the afternoon the girls set off to return to the Queen Mothers village, carrying their bundles of reeds. Again they return at night. This is done "to show they traveled a long way".


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Day 5: A day of rest where the girls make final preparations to their hair and dancing costumes. Day 6: First day of dancing, from about 3 to 5 in the afternoon. The girls drop their reeds outside the Queen Mothers quarters. They move to the arena and dance keeping in their groups and each group singing different songs at the same time. Day 7: Second and last day of dancing. The king will be present. Day 8: King commands that a number of cattle (perhaps 20-25) be slaughtered for girls. They collect their pieces of meat and can go home. Today’s Reed Dance is not an ancient ceremony, but developed out of the old "umcwasho" custom. In "umcwasho", all young girls were placed in a female age-regiment. If any girl fell 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.

believe that most Swazi ascribe a special spiritual role to the monarch. Residents of Swaziland have the lowest documented life expectancy in the world at 31.88 years, less than half the world average of 69.4.[5]

SiSwati[6] (also known as Swati, Swazi or Seswati) is a Bantu language of the Nguni Group, spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. It has 2.5 million speakers and is taught in schools. It is an official language of Swaziland (along with English) and one of the official languages of South Africa. About 76,000 people in the country speak Zulu.[7] Tsonga, which is spoken by many people throughout the region is spoken by about 19,000 people in Swaziland.

The most common religion in Swaziland is Christianity which totals 82.70% of the total population, in which various Protestant and indigenous African churches, including African Zionist, constitute the majority of the Christians, followed closely by Roman Catholicism. There are also non-Christian religions practiced in the country such as Islam (0.95%), the Bahá’í Faith (0.5%), and Hinduism (0.15%).[8]

See also References
Traditional homes in Swaziland

The majority of Swaziland’s population is ethnically Swazi, mixed with a small number of Zulu and White Africans, mostly people of British and Afrikaner descent. Traditionally Swazi have been subsistence farmers and herders, but most now mix such activities with work in the growing urban formal economy and in government. Some Swazi work in the mines in South Africa. Swaziland also received Portuguese settlers and African refugees from Mozambique. Christianity in Swaziland is sometimes mixed with traditional beliefs and practices. Many traditionalists

[1] ^ "Swaziland". International Monetary Fund. ft/weo/2009/01/weodata/ weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1& Retrieved on 2009-04-22. [2] October 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet [3] A Short History of the Kingdom of Swaziland [4] Swaziland entry at [5] 2009 Statistics from the CIA [6] Background Note from U.S. Department of State [7] "Ethnologue report for Swaziland". show_country.asp?name=SZ. [8] Religious Intelligence - Country Profile: Swaziland (Kingdom of Swaziland)


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• Swaziland at the Open Directory Project • Swazi Live Swaziland accommodation and business directory • Wikimedia Atlas of Swaziland Tourism • Swaziland Tourism Authority • Swaziland travel guide from Wikitravel Other • Swaziland Internet Cafe directory • Photographs of Swaziland Wildlife - Hlane Royal National Park, Mkhaya Game Reserve

Further reading
• Cuisine of Swaziland

External links
Government • Government of Swaziland • Chief of State and Cabinet Members General • Swaziland entry at The World Factbook • Swaziland from UCB Libraries GovPubs

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