Connect with us
Advert

Culture

Little Known Kingdom Of Eswatini, Africa’s Last Absolute Monarchy

Published

on

Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and formerly known in English as Swaziland, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, and south.

The capital cities are Mbabane and Lobamba. This kingdom seats on a territorial size with Area: 17,364 km² with a Population: 1.136 million. Their currency is known as: Swazi lilangeni. For example 1000 Swazi lilangeni= U$61.16.

Mswati III aged 52, (full names Makhosetive Dlamini ) is the king of Eswatini and head of the Swazi Royal Family. He was born in Manzini in the Protectorate of Swaziland to King Sobhuza II and one of his younger wives, Ntfombi Tfwala.

Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age have been found in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Prehistoric rock art paintings date from c. 25,000 B.C. and continuing up to the 19th century can be found in various places around the country.

The area that is now eSwatini has been inhabited for millennia, and human-like remains possibly dating back as far as 100,000 years have been discovered around the Lebombo Mountains in eastern eSwatini.

However, today’s Swazis trace their ancestors to much more recent arrivals. By around AD 500, various Nguni groups had made their way to the region as part of the great Bantu migrations.

One of these groups settled in the area around present-day Maputo (Mozambique), eventually founding the Dlamini dynasty. In the mid-18th century, in response to increasing pressure from other clans in the area, the Dlamini king, Ngwane III, led his people southwest to the Pongola River, in present-day southern eSwatini and northern KwaZulu-Natal.

This became the first Swazi heartland. Ngwane’s successor, Sobhuza I, established a base in the Ezulwini Valley, which still remains the centre of Swazi royalty and ritual.

Next came King Mswazi (or Mswati), after whom the Swazi take their name. Despite pressure from the neighbouring Zulu, Mswazi succeeded in unifying the whole kingdom. From the mid-19th century, eSwatini attracted increasing numbers of European farmers in search of land for cattle, as well as hunters, traders and missionaries.

Over the next decades, the Swazis saw their territory whittled away as the British and Boers jostled for power in the area. In 1902, following the Second Anglo-Boer War, the Boers withdrew and the British took control of eSwatini as a protectorate.

Struggle for Independence Swazi history in the early 20th century centred on the ongoing struggle for independence.

reed dance

Under the leadership of King Sobhuza II (guided by the capable hands of his mother, Lomawa Ndwandwewho, who acted as regent while Sobhuza was a child), the Swazis succeeded in regaining much of their original territory. This was done in part by direct purchase and in part by British government decree.

This was a major development, as Swazi kings are considered to hold the kingdom in trust for their subjects, and land ownership is thus more than just a political and economic issue.

Independence was finally achieved – the culmination of a long and remarkably nonviolent path – on 6 September 1968, 66 years after the establishment of the British protectorate.

The first Swazi constitution was largely a British creation, and in 1973 the king suspended it on the grounds that it did not accord with Swazi culture.

Four years later parliament reconvened under a new constitution vesting all power in the king. Sobhuza II died in 1982, at that time the world’s longest-reigning monarch.

In 1986 the young Mswati III ascended the throne, where he continues today to represent and maintain the traditional Swazi way of life and to assert his pre-eminence as absolute monarch.

Culture and Customs

The Kingdom of Eswatini is also renowned for its wealth of culture. With ceremonies and festivities (like the famous “reed dance” and the Marula Festival) taking place all year long.

In eSwatini, it’s customary for women to not eat the head or feet of a cow. It is believed that if a woman eats the brains of a cow, she will become intelligent; if she eats the tongue, she will talk back to 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.

Dance is key to the Swazis’ cultural identity, and every single member of the community is expected to participate during cultural celebrations. Every year, 10,000 young women perform for the Queen Mother at the Umhlanga (Reed Dance Festival), while the men get their turn before the king at the Incwala, which takes place during the summer solstice. Not surprisingly, the dancers were the most important part of the 50:50 celebrations.

eSwatini’s kings are polygamous. Mswati III has 15 wives and his father, Sobhuza II (the longest reigning monarch in history) had 70. That makes for a huge number of princes and princesses. You can generally spot a member of the royal family in a crowd because they are entitled to wear red feathers in their hair.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Culture

Poetry Projects Resilience of The Human Spirit

Published

on

The World Poetry Day on Sunday March 21, may have faded as a normal day but poets and similar art enthusiasts reflected on it.

With travel restricted and large public gatherings like literary readings and fairs canceled due to the pandemic, we can dust off and crack open those volumes of Shakespeare on our shelves or comb through the 24/7 net for poetry events.

Poetry’s power in the contemporary world was not lost on UNESCO, when at a General Conference in Paris in 1999 it first adopted March 21 as World Poetry Day.

“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings,” the UNESCO.

Celebrating the World Poetry day last year, Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General observed, “Arranged in words, colored with images, struck with the right meter, poetry has a power that has no match. This is the power to shake us from everyday life and the power to remind us of the beauty that surrounds us and of the resilience of the human spirit.”  

Meanwhile, the  Poetry International (PI) Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, one of the major poetry festivals in Europe, has for over 50 years attracted poetry greats.

This year’s PI  festival is slated for June and will be a mixture of live-streamed readings, interviews with poets and translators, and perhaps small, outdoor events.

PI director Inez Boogaarts said the pandemic makes planning for any festival difficult. “In the past, many visitors have come to the festival not only to hear poetry, but for the ambiance and to meet other people: that is normally half the fun of going to a festival. That is a completely different experience than participating on the computer.” 

“Young people now have grown up with the internet, smartphones and especially, social media. For them, the internet a place for meeting other poets and poetry lovers around the world,” she noted.

“Poetry online has exploded in the past five years, even before the pandemic – from poetry blogs to online platforms to social media,” Boogaarts pointed out.

Continue Reading

Culture

Kenya’s Samburu Tribe Sign MoU To End Female Genital Mutilation

Published

on

The Samburu tribe in Kenya could be on their way to liberate themselves from one of worlds remaining primitive practices.

On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Samburu Elders to commit to the end of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the community.

The Kenyan Head of State was also installed as a Samburu elder. He challenged communities practicing FGM to discard the retrogressive cultural practice by finding alternative rites of passage.

“I know it is possible for our girls to go through alternative rites of passage without suffering,” President Kenyatta said.

The President advised the Samburu community to give their boys and girls an equal opportunity to attend school.

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of Maasai and Samburu women in Kenya who have experienced female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is reported to be around 78% and 86%, respectively.

For these communities, female genital cutting is believed to primarily signify a transition into womanhood.

FGM/C is defined as ‘… all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.’

The practice of female genital cutting is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights.

In 2011, the Kenyan government passed the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (Kenya Law Reports: Act No. 32 of 2011, 2012). As expected, this Act, in a similar manner to earlier legislation, did not bring an end to the practice.

Continue Reading

Culture

Kenya’s Gideon Moi Installed As Kalenjin Tribal Elder

Published

on

Kenya African National Union (KANU) political party Chairman, who is also the Senator for Baringo, Gideon Moi, was installed as a Kalenjin elder on Friday, three weeks after youths allied to Deputy President William Ruto blocked the event in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County.

The Friday dawn ceremony that lasted three hours was conducted by Kapsisiywo Talai elders.

“The elders handed him the community’s instruments of power and gave him mandate to look for the country’s leadership,” an official with knowlegde of the ceremony told a local radio station.

On January 2, supporters of the Deputy President blocked Moi’s convoy as he headed to Kapsisiywa for installation as an elder in renewed rivalry, pitting the two leaders as they position themselves for the presidency in 2022.

Senator Moi was accompanied by other leaders loyal to him when they encountered barricades erected by youths from Talai and Kapsisiywa.

He was headed to the home of Councillor Christopher arap Koyoki.

Attempts by the Senator to plead with the youths to listen to him from the sunroof of his vehicle fell on deaf ears as they shouted him down, with some heard saying “Ruto, Ruto.”

He then retreated to his vehicle and turned back.

Senator Moi was later seen sharing a meal with a group of youths and elders at Kabiyet trading centre, a few kilometers from Talai before he left.

There was a heavy security deployment in the area following the early morning stand-off.
Reports indicate that the youths were protesting Senator Moi’s plan to be installed as an elder, a position they said is held by Ruto.

Senator Moi’s plan to be installed as a Kalenjin elder are part of his preparations to take control of Rift Valley as he positions himself to vie for the presidency in 2022.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement Enter ad code here
Advertisement Enter ad code here

Trending