History of Swaziland, South Africa
The Swazi people in part also originated from the Bantu tribes, but the royalty came from the Dlamini’s. This royal house migrated southwards into Mozambique during the 16th century and eventually due to the growth of the Zulu nation settled just north of the olden day Zululand.
The royal family stabilized the kingdom under King Sobhuza I, but it was only until King Mswati II took over did the people in the land become known as the Swazi’s and the name of Swaziland was formed. He ruled from 1840 to 1865.
During this time he made attempts to contact the British ruling in South Africa to put a stop to the Zulu raids in his country. This was also the time when the first white Transvaal Boers settled in Swaziland. After Mswati’s death the British claimed colonial rule over the country just as they were doing in South Africa. This part rule only lasted from 1894 until 1898 when the Anglo Boer War broke out. During the war, British troops entered the territory and established total rule initially as part of the Transvaal. In 1906, Swaziland was recognized as a separate state and the colonial period lasted until 1968.
In 1921 King Sobhuza II was initiated into power as the so called Ngenyama (lion) and he led the Swazi people to their first independent election in 1964, after the British began to prepare them for independence after seeing the racial conflicts that were taking place in South Africa. The King and his followers established the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM) which subsequently won the election. He incorporated many of the other party’s political movements and request, one of which was to make the country independent. Talks with the British government began in 1966 and eventually Swaziland was declared a constitutional monarchy, independent of Britain on the 6 September 1968.
After several year of internal struggles, and the abolition of parliament and the certain prime minister’s a new Queen Regent was put onto the thrown and her only son, Prince Makhosetive was prepared to ascend the thrown. He was crowned King Mswati III in 1986 and he appointed a new parliament and cabinet of ministers to further end the internal struggles for democracy.
General Swaziland Information
Swaziland is one of the last true kingdoms in the world with a King as ruling head of the country.The succession of the King to the thrown has been kept in the Dlamini line to this day by a very strategic process. The Kings all have a vast number of wives in different tribes.
Each wife is only allowed to bear one son and after the King dies, one of these princes will be chosen as King based on the role and leadership of the Queen mother or Ndlovukati (she-elephant).
Swaziland is landlocked on three sides by South Africa and on one side by Mozambique. It consists of many valleys and mountains with lush greenery and waterfalls. Much of the economy is made from farming although due to frequent floods, droughts, and the overgrazing problem, only a small portion of the population are well off. More than 70 percent are still rural with very little or no education. For this reason, it remains one of the top countries ravaged by HIV and AIDS.
Swaziland has good road links and rail links to South Africa known as the Goba line which was accessed through the Port of Maputo in Mozambique. After a falling out with the Mozambique government, much of the goods are now transported directly into South Africa at port of Richard’s Bay and roads into Mpumalanga. The main bulk of the economy is made from sugar and sugar cane plants grow abundantly throughout the four regions of Swaziland. It is for this reason as well as certain tax implications that the multi billion dollar Coco Cola Company was established here in Swaziland.
When visiting Swaziland you will notice that many of the young unmarried women perform the annual Reed Dance. This was a tradition that was put in place to discourage sex before marriage and during August when the dance is performed, various education camps would be set up to teach young women about marriage and communication. The event lasts about three days and the actual dance ceremony is held for the public on the last day where the King attends and gives a speech.
The music of Swaziland is an eclectic mixture of traditional Bantu and Swazi folk songs as well as modern rock, hip hop and pop. One of the biggest traditional music events is held in December and is called Incwala. Of the many traditional instruments the Kudu Horn, Calabash, Reed Flute, and rattles are the most popular.
There has been a large boost to the tourism industry over the last few years and the introduction of Pigg’s Peak Casino have created perfect places for visitors to come. These are located at the capital of country, Mbabane. There are plenty of shops and markets here and once you leave you are once again met with rolling hills as you head into the Ezulwini Valley or the “Heavenly Place”. Here you will find the fantastic Royal Swazi Sun Hotel and Casino Complex as well as various night clubs and game parks like the Mlilwane Game Sanctuary. Other game reserves include Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserves. At these places you can stay in the traditional beehive shaped huts, thatched lodges or even caravans. To view the big five you can tour yourself or go on one of the prearranged Nisela Safaris.
Make sure you don’t miss Sibebe Rock which is the second largest rock in the world! You can also take part in lots of sporting activities while here such as golf, swimming, white water rafting, abseiling, tennis, and fishing. Caution must be taken in certain areas because bilharzia is fairly common in the rivers and dams. Hiking through the gorgeous fauna and flora of the land is also recommended, and various hiking trails are offered that last from a few hours to a few days. If you decide to go solo, be sure to get permission, as some mountains and areas are considered sacred land.
You should also make your way to the largest town in the country, Manzini. Here you will find the most museums and monuments as well as sports stadiums and trading areas. The airport is also located near here. This is a very small, but very interesting country to visit with friendly people, vibrant cultural events, and unique towns and villages.