Swaziland is a small country in the southern region of Africa which borders South Africa and Mozambique. Having gained independence from British rule in 1968, Swaziland is currently led by King Mswati III. The mountainous country has a population of approximately 1.1 million
The Swazi culture is rich with dance and song highlighting God’s creativity. Having had the gospel for over a hundred years, it is not uncommon to hear Jesus talked about in the schools, on the radio, and even in government.
The Swazi people comprise a single ethic group made up several clans, who are united under one monarch. They are peaceful, friendly and kind, and visitors are ensured of a warm welcome that they will always remember. Good manners, taking time to greet each other correctly and enquiring after their wellbeing are an integral part of the Swazi character.
Swaziland has always been a land of Kings, whose line has led the people since the building of the nation. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Africans of Nguni descent migrated southwards from Central Africa under the leadership of Dlamini III and under Ngwane III, in the mid 18th century, some of them settled in the area which today is Shiselweni in southern Swaziland. These people, the Nkosi Dlamini, became known as Swazis. Nkosi means king and Dlamini is the surname of the royal family, whose royal line dates to about 1550.
Following King Sobhuza II’s death in 1982, Queen Dzeliwe became regent until the young heir, Prince Makhosetive, returned home from Sherborne School in England, and the following year 1986, aged only 18 years, he was installed as King Mswati III.
CHOOSING THE KING
The heir to the throne is chosen according to his mother’s status and a Queen Mother is selected, based on her rank, by the Royal Council following the king’s death. The King is always a Dlamini and never intermarries so the Queen Mother may not be a Dlamini. The King must be her only son and is excepted to choose wives from various clans to ensure national unity.
The monarchy is a dual one with the balance of power lying with the King – Ngwenyama (or lion) – and the Queen Mother, who is Ndlovukazi (she – elephant).
The Royal council plays a key role in the selection of the heir to the throne. He must be unmarried, and if still a minor, the Queen Mother to the late King assumes the responsibility of Regent until the Crown Prince becomes the Ngwenyama.
THE SWAZI FLAG
The present Swazi flag, which was introduced in 1967, comprises a black and white shield on a bright background of blue, yellow and red. The shield depicts racial harmony and is also part of the weaponry of the “Sotja”(soldier) Regiment that served in World War II.
The blue represents the sky; the yellow is for gold, or the country’s mineral wealth; the red is the rich fertile soil of Swaziland.