Swazi Contrasts

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland has just chosen his 15th wife at the 2013 Reed Dance.

 Stop-overs in Swaziland a.k.a ‘Africa For Beginners’, are a regular part of our journey North and I have come to love spending time in this complex African Kingdom,

yet the contrasts and contradictions that glare out of this strange landlocked country never cease to amaze me.

Riddled with AIDS, Worship Venues, Chiefdoms  (200 in fact), poverty and debt – the flashing electronic bill boards in the city centres continue to appeal to the population to practice ‘one man / one woman’ love while the King selects yet another teenage bride.

Along with the Head Royal’s archaic behaviour, deep rooted cultural belief embedded in inhumane practises regularly rears its scary head. A young albino child is recently dragged away from the river while washing cloths, shot and then mutilated for muti – another sad African song…

Among the chaos of Swaziland’s cultural contradictions this country continues to provide our little family with a low-key, peaceful space for  huddling before Eric flies off for another work stint.We tend to head for the hills and Malolotja National Park but on occasion we end up at Hawane – for a bit of time on the horses.

Both girls ride. Mom and Dad – not so much, so on this particular day it was the beautiful scenery that lay contrast to our bruised and bandied legs.

Nelson Mandela once said “In Countries where innocent people are dying the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains”.   Perhaps this sums up the current cultural status of Swaziland.

And so magnificent Africa continues to mystify me…

Celebrating Winter 2013 and Swaziland stop-overs.