The Kingdom of Eswatini formerly known as Swaziland is a tiny land locked country in Southern Africa. It was known as Swaziland until April 19, 2018 when the King Mswati III changed the country’s name during their 50th independence anniversary and his 50th birthday from Swaziland to ‘The Kingdom of Eswatini ‘. Thus tiny country of over one million citizens is bordered by Mozambique and South Africa. At no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa. Despite its small size, this country has a diverse climate and topography ranging from a cool and mountainous highland to a hot and dry lowland.
Now, here are things you never knew about The Kingdom of Eswatini.
1. AFRICA’S LAST ABSOLUTE MONARCHY.
King Mswati III is africa’s last absolute monarch and one of the few left in the world today. This means that he has powers not regulated or limited by the constitution and whatever he says stands. Though, he generally rules by consensus, he is still one of the most powerful people in the country (known as “the Lion”), while his mother, Queen Mother Ntfomb, is the second and known as “the Great She Elephant”. Because mother and son are equal in power, they can theoretically keep each other in check.
2. THE YOUNGEST CROWNED MONARCH.
King Mswati III (Ngwenyama Mswati III Dlamini) became the youngest crowned monarch and youngest ruler at the time when he was crowned on April 25, 1986. Makhosetive was 14 years old when his father died in 1982, and a regency was established to rule Swaziland until Makhosetive could ascend the throne upon his 21st birthday. However, a power struggle within the royal family led to Makhosetive ascending the throne at the age of 18.
3. POLYGAMY RULES
Eswatini’s kings are quite polygamous in nature. King Mswati III currently has 15 wives and 36 children. His father, King Sobhuza II (longest serving Eswatini monarch) had 125 wives and over 200 children. Member of the royal family are recognized by a red feather they wear on their heads. The royal family has been a center of controversy because of the king’s posh lifestyle. While the citizens wallow in abject poverty, the royal family live a luxurious life much to the dismay of civil rights groups in the country and the international community. The King, however, seems to enjoy the controversy as he keeps the ‘show’ going on.
For more information about the Royal family, you can watch this video.
4. WOMEN SHOULDN’T EAT OFFAL.
In Eswatini custom, it is forbidden for a woman to eat the head and feet of a cow. It is widely believed that if she eats the head of a cow, she will become intelligent, if she eats the tongue, she will talk back at her husband and if she eats the feet, she will run away. For the same reason, Swazis say that you should never buy your wife a pair of shoes.
5. COWS ARE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD.
In Eswatini, cows are very valuable. They are used to buy lands, they are also used to pay the bride price if you want to get married. Also, if you wish to marry one of Eswatini’s many princesses, the price of the bride can be as high as 300 cows. One cow in Eswatini costs as high as $500.
6. DANCING IS A MAJOR PART OF ESWATINI CULTURE.
Traditional Dance in Eswatini is a crucial part of Eswatini culture. Traditional dances are performed at gatherings and festivals and to commemorate important events. Annually, two major dance events are held, namely; the Incwala (for men) and the infamous Umhlanga Reed dance (for women).
7. THE UMHLANGA (REED) DANCE
The Umhlanga dance ceremony is an annual event were tens of thousands of unmarried and Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini Royal Village to participate in the eight-day event. This festival, however, has stirred much international controversy and condemnation. Why?, because this dance is no ordinary dance, in this festival, the women and girls all dance naked from the top to the waist. Critics say that this festival encourages sexual exploitation of Eswatini females. However, according to Eswatini customs the official purpose of the annual ceremony is to preserve the women’s chastity, provide tribute labour for the Queen Mother, and produce solidarity among the women through working together. Despite clearly stating the purpose of this festival, it still hasn’t settled well in the minds of outsiders. After a video of the festival was age restricted by You Tube, the head of Eswatini’s national Tv staged a protest against Google and eventually won. So, videos of this festival are no longer age restricted.
8. THE LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE RHINOS.
The Kingdom of Eswatini is one of the places on earth where you can find black and white rhinos side by side. The Kingdom of Eswatini also boasts of abundance of wildlife. The big five can be found in this tiny nation.
Sadly the poverty remains one of the biggest problems of the Kingdom of Eswatini. All cries for a government reform have fallen on deaf ears. HIV AIDS also plagues this tiny nation. We can only hope things get better for the people of The Kingdom of Eswatini.
2 thoughts on “THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI”
I did know the cruelty of the monarch ….
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You knew about the monarch of Eswatini before now? That’s nice. You must really watch the news always