Swaziland is Africa-lite on a platter. To small to be a threat to anyone except itself, this little Kingdom, the last remaining Monarchy in Africa, offers a Bright African experience for overseas guests: animal wilderness, colourful culture and beautiful craft alongside all the necessary creature comforts. With a reputation for being hospitable, every one seems happy, happy…

However all is not as it may seem in The Kingdom. Revenue from tourism and the bit of farming that takes place is not enough to support The Kingdom of Swaziland’s shrinking state coffers. A large part of the population live below the poverty line and survive on international food aid, and an incredible 40% of the population is infected with HIV. The highest infection ratio in the world.

These social struggles contrast strongly against King Maswati III’s personal fortune estimated to sit at over 60 million British Pounds and his polygamous lifestyle, although all the money in the world does not seem to be helping him keep his 14 Queen’s happy. (Read more about his misbehaving wives here. ) And to complicate matters further he seems to have an eye for the ladies in general…

While continuing to indulge in the fruits of his land his subjects struggle on and one can’t help but wonder if His Royal Highness ever stops to think about the practicalities around maintaining some of the cultural practices that he is so deeply embedded in and the long-term implications this may have for his children and his people.

Swaziland Trip 2011 


8 thoughts on “Africa-Lite

  1. I can’t even pretend to be understanding about this bombastic and arrogant ‘leader’ of Swazi who is born into the role of King without reponsibilty to well – anyone it seems. Where is leadership by example … why are the Swazi population allowing their leader to fritter their money away (on himself) and his kids and families for a life or privilege while every day Swazis and their their kids and families continue to live a life of poverty. Swaziland is a wonderful country full of potential. Who will be the leader who drives Swazi to reach its potential and deliver to it people. I doubt if King Maswati is that person.

    • Thanks for your comment Lou. Power corrupts and all…but his dad seems to have had a better handle on the role of King. Maswati III came into power at the age of 18. I wonder how long he is going to manage to hold on? If he doesn’t get a grip on the HIV epademic he may not have a nation to rule in the near future. As you say, Swaziland is an amazing place. hopefully they will somehow find the leadership that they need – but will it require more of Africa’s blood? That is the other worry, and will the appropriate powers step in to help prevent this?

  2. What do they say: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s a shame that he cannot see what power to rule could and should really look like. I’m sure he’s happy with his life, but eternity will be spent in the fire.

    • I wonder if at times the complications of his present life and the bed that he has made for himself don’t feel like hell already. Swaziland is an amazing place and it is such a pity that he cannot / hasnot, as you say, use / used his power to lead his people in a meaningful way. What a wasted opportunity. Thanks for your comment.

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