Coordinates: 26°30′S 31°30′E / 26.500°S 31.500°E /
Kingdom of Swaziland
Umbuso weSwatini (Swazi)
Coat of arms
"We are a fortress"
"We are a mystery/riddle"
"We hide ourselves away"
Nkulunkulu Mnikati wetibusiso temaSwati
Oh God, Bestower of the Blessings of the Swazi
Location of Swaziland (dark blue)
– in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union (light blue)
Unitary parliamentary absolute diarchy
• Prime Minister
Parliament of Swaziland
• Upper house
• Lower house
House of Assembly
• from the United Kingdom
6 September 1968
Absolute monarchy & current constitution
17,364 km2 (6,704 sq mi) (153rd)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2007 census
68.2/km2 (176.6/sq mi) (135th)
• Per capita
• Per capita
low · 148th
South African rand
Swazi lilangeni (SZL)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of
Swaziland (/ˈswɑːzɪlænd/ or
/-lənd/; Swazi: Umbuso weSwatini; sometimes called kaNgwane or
Eswatini), is a sovereign state in Southern Africa. It is
Mozambique to its northeast and by South
Africa to its
north, west and south; it is a landlocked country. The country and its
people take their names from Mswati II, the 19th-century king under
whose rule Swazi territory was expanded and unified.
At no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130
kilometres (81 mi) east to west,
Swaziland is one of the smallest
countries in Africa; despite this, its climate and topography are
diverse, ranging from a cool and mountainous highveld to a hot and dry
lowveld. The population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is
Swati. They established their kingdom in the mid-18th century under
the leadership of Ngwane III; the present boundaries were drawn up in
1881 in the midst of the scramble for Africa. After the Anglo-Boer
Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967. It
regained its independence on 6 September 1968.
The country is an absolute monarchy, ruled by
Mswati III since 1986. He is head of state and appoints the
country's prime ministers and a number of representatives of both
chambers (Senate and House of Assembly) in the country's parliament.
Elections are held every five years to determine the House of Assembly
and the Senate majority. The current constitution was adopted in 2005.
Swaziland is a developing country with a small economy. With a GDP per
capita of $9,714, it is classified as a country with a lower-middle
income. As a member of the
Southern African Customs Union
Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
and Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA), its main
local trading partner is South Africa; in order to ensure economic
stability, Swaziland's currency, the lilangeni, is pegged to the South
African rand. Swaziland's major overseas trading partners are the
United States and the European Union. The majority of the
country's employment is provided by its agricultural and manufacturing
Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), the African Union, the
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations and
the United Nations.
The Swazi population faces major health issues:
HIV/AIDS and, to a
lesser extent, tuberculosis are serious challenges. As of
Swaziland has the lowest estimated life expectancy in the world,
at 49.18 years. The population of
Swaziland is fairly young with a
median age of 20.5 years and people aged 14 years or younger
constituting 37.4% of the country's total population. The present
population growth rate is 1.195%.
Umhlanga, held in August/September and incwala, the kingship dance
held in December/January, are the nation's most important events.
1.1 Swazi settlers (18th century)
1.2 British rule over
1.3 Independence (1968–present)
2 Government and politics
2.3 Political culture
2.5 Foreign relations
2.8 Administrative divisions
5.2 Population centres
5.6.1 Higher education
7 See also
9 External links
Main article: History of Swaziland
Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone
Age, around 200,000 years ago, have been found in the Kingdom of
Swaziland. Prehistoric rock art paintings dating from as far back as
c. 27,000 years ago, to as recent as the 19th century, can be found in
various places around the country.
The earliest known inhabitants of the region were Khoisan
hunter-gatherers. They were largely replaced by the Kashian
hunter-tribe during the Bantu migrations. These peoples hailed from
the Great Lakes regions of eastern and central Africa. Evidence of
agriculture and iron use dates from about the 4th century. People
speaking languages ancestral to current Sotho and Nguni languages
began settling no later than the 11th century.
Swazi settlers (18th century)
The Swazi settlers, then known as the Ngwane (or bakaNgwane), before
Swaziland had been settled on the banks of the Pongola River.
Prior to that they were settled in the area of the Tembe River near
present-day Maputo. Continuing conflict with the
pushed them further north, with
Ngwane III establishing his capital at
Shiselweni at the foot of the Mhlosheni hills.
Under Sobhuza I, the Ngwane people eventually established their
capital at Zombodze in the heartland of present-day Swaziland. In this
process, they conquered and incorporated the long established clans of
the country known to the Swazi as Emakhandzambili.
A 19th-century Swazi artifact
Swaziland derives its name from a later king named Mswati II.
KaNgwane, named for Ngwane III, is an alternative name for Swaziland
the surname of whose royal house remains Nkhosi Dlamini. Nkhosi
literally means "king".
Mswati II was the greatest of the fighting
kings of Swaziland, and he greatly extended the area of the country to
twice its current size. The Emakhandzambili clans were initially
incorporated into the kingdom with wide autonomy, often including
grants of special ritual and political status. The extent of their
autonomy however was drastically curtailed by Mswati, who attacked and
subdued some of them in the 1850s.
With his power, Mswati greatly reduced the influence of the
Emakhandzambili while incorporating more people into his kingdom
either through conquest or by giving them refuge. These later arrivals
became known to the Swazis as Emafikamuva. The clans who accompanied
the Dlamini kings were known as the Bemdzabuko or true Swazi.
Swaziland in Southern Africa, 1896.
The autonomy of the
Swaziland nation was influenced by British and
Dutch rule of southern
Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In
1881 the British government signed a convention recognizing Swazi
independence despite the Scramble for
Africa that was taking place at
the time. This independence was also recognized in the convention of
Because of controversial land/mineral rights and other concessions,
Swaziland had a triumviral administration in 1890 following the death
Mbandzeni in 1889. This government represented the British,
the Dutch republics and the Swazi people. In 1894 a convention placed
Swaziland under the
South African Republic
South African Republic as a protectorate. This
continued under the rule of
Ngwane V until the outbreak of the Second
Boer War in October 1899.
Ngwane V died in December 1899 during incwala after the outbreak
of the Boer war. His successor
Sobhuza II was four months old.
Swaziland was indirectly involved in the war with various skirmishes
between the British and the Boers occurring in the country until 1902.
British rule over
In 1903, after British victory in the Anglo-Boer war,
a British protectorate. Much of its early administration (for example,
postal services) was carried out from South
Africa until 1906 when the
Transvaal colony was granted self-government. Following this,
Swaziland was partitioned into European and non-European (or native
reserves) areas with the former being two-thirds of the total land.
Sobhuza's official coronation was in December 1921 after the regency
of Labotsibeni after which he led an unsuccessful deputation to the
Privy council in London in 1922 regarding the issue of the land.
In the period between 1923 and 1963,
Sobhuza II established the Swazi
Commercial Amadoda which was to grant licences to small businesses on
the Swazi reserves and also established the Swazi National School to
counter the dominance of the missions in education. His stature grew
with time and the Swazi royal leadership was successful in resisting
the weakening power of the British administration and the
Swaziland into the Union of South Africa.
The constitution for independent
Swaziland was promulgated by Britain
in November 1963 under the terms of which legislative and executive
councils were established. This development was opposed by the Swazi
National Council (liqoqo). Despite such opposition, elections took
place and the first Legislative Council of
Swaziland was constituted
on 9 September 1964. Changes to the original constitution proposed by
the Legislative Council were accepted by Britain and a new
constitution providing for a House of Assembly and Senate was drawn
up. Elections under this constitution were held in 1967.
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Swaziland was then briefly a Protected State until 1968, when
independence was regained.
Following the elections of 1973, the constitution of
suspended by King
Sobhuza II who thereafter ruled the country by
decree until his death in 1982. At this point
Sobhuza II had ruled
Swaziland for 83 years, making him the longest-reigning monarch in
history. A regency followed his death, with Queen Regent Dzeliwe
Shongwe being head of state until 1984 when she was removed by the
Liqoqo and replaced by Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala. Mswati III, the
son of Ntfombi, was crowned king on 25 April 1986 as King and
Ingwenyama of Swaziland.
The 1990s saw a rise in student and labour protests pressuring the
king to introduce reforms. Thus, progress toward constitutional
reforms began, culminating with the introduction of the current
Swaziland constitution in 2005. This happened despite objections by
political activists. The current constitution does not clearly deal
with the status of political parties.
The first election under the new constitution, took place in 2008.
Members of parliament were elected from 55 constituencies (also known
as tinkhundla). These MPs served five-year terms which ended in 2013.
Swaziland suffered an economic crisis, due to reduced SACU
receipts. This led to the government of
Swaziland to request a loan
from neighboring South Africa. However, the Swazi government did not
agree with the conditions of the loan, which included political
During this period, there was increased pressure on the Swaziland
government to carry out more reforms. Public protests by civic
organisations and trade unions became more common. Starting in 2012,
SACU receipts have eased the fiscal pressure on the
Swazi government. A new parliament, the second since promulgation of
the constitution, was elected on 20 September 2013. This saw the
reappointment of Sibusiso Dlamini, by the king, as prime minister for
the third time.
Government and politics
Politics of Swaziland
Politics of Swaziland and Human rights in Swaziland
Mswati III has been king of
Swaziland since 1986.
Swaziland is an absolute monarchy with constitutional provisions and
Swazi Law and customs. The head of state is the king or Ngwenyama
(lit. Lion), currently King Mswati III, who ascended to the throne in
1986 after the death of his father King
Sobhuza II in 1982 and a
period of regency. According to the constitution of Swaziland, the
King and Ingwenyama is a symbol of unity and the eternity of the Swazi
By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual
Ndlovukati (lit. She-Elephant). The former was viewed
as the administrative head of state and the latter as a spiritual and
national head of state, with real power counterbalancing that of the
king, but, during the long reign of Sobhuza II, the role of the
Ndlovukati became more symbolic.
The king appoints the prime minister from the legislature and also
appoints a minority of legislators to both chambers of the Libandla
(parliament) with help from an advisory council. The king is allowed
by the constitution to appoint some members to parliament for special
interests. These special interests are citizens who might have been
left out by the electorate during the course of elections or did not
enter as candidates. This is done to balance views in parliament.
Special interests could be people of gender, race, disability, the
business community, civic society, scholars, chiefs and so on.
The Senate consists of 30 members, of which some are appointed by the
king on recommendation of the advisory council and others elected by
the lower house. The House of Assembly has 65 seats, 55 of which are
occupied by elected representatives from the 55 constituencies around
the country, 10 appointed by the king on recommendation of the
advisory council and the attorney general ex-officio. Elections are
held every five years.
The Swazi bicameral Parliament or
Libandla consists of the Senate (30
seats; 10 members appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed
by the monarch; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly
(65 seats; 10 members appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by
popular vote; to serve five-year terms). The elections are held every
five years after dissolution of parliament by the king. The last
elections were held on 20 September 2013. The balloting is
done on a non-party basis in all categories. All election procedures
are overseen by the elections and boundaries commission.
At Swaziland's independence on 6 September 1968,
Swaziland adopted a
Westminster-style constitution. On 12 April 1973 King Sobhuza II
annulled it by decree, assuming supreme powers in all executive,
judicial and legislative matters. The first non-party elections
for the House of Assembly were held in 1978, and they were conducted
under the tinkhundla as electoral constituencies determined by the
King, and established an Electoral Committee appointed by the King to
Until the 1993 election, the ballot was not secret, voters were not
registered and they did not elect representatives directly. Instead,
voters elected an electoral college by passing through a gate
designated for the candidate of choice while officials counted
them. Later on, a constitutional review commission was appointed
by King Mswati in July 1996 comprising chiefs, political activists and
unionists to consider public submissions and draft proposals for a new
Drafts were released for comment in May 1999 and November 2000. These
were strongly criticized by civil society organisations in Swaziland
and human rights organisations elsewhere. A 15-member team was
announced in December 2001 to draft a new constitution; several
members of this team were reported to be close to the royal
In 2005, the constitution was put into effect. There is still much
debate in the country about the constitutional reforms. From the early
seventies, there was active resistance to the royal hegemony.
Further information: Elections in Swaziland
Nominations take place at the chiefdoms. On the day of nomination, the
name of the nominee is raised by a show of hand and the nominee is
given an opportunity to indicate whether he or she accepts the
nomination. If he or she accepts it, he or she must be supported by at
least ten members of that chiefdom. The nominations are for the
position of Member of Parliament, Constituency Headman (Indvuna) and
the Constituency Executive Committee (Bucopho). The minimum number of
nominees is four and the maximum is ten.
Primary elections also take place at the chiefdom level. It is by
secret ballot. During the Primary Elections, the voters are given an
opportunity to elect the member of the executive committee (Bucopho)
for that particular chiefdom. Aspiring members of parliament and the
constituency Headman are also elected from each chiefdom. The
secondary and final elections takes place at the various
constituencies called Tinkhundla.
Candidates who won primary elections in the chiefdoms are considered
nominees for the secondary elections at inkhundla or constituency
level. The nominees with majority votes become the winners and they
become members of parliament or constituency headman.
Further information: Foreign relations of Swaziland
Swaziland is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of
Nations, the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa, and the Southern African Development Community.
The judicial system in
Swaziland is a dual system. The 2006
constitution established a court system based on the western model
consisting of four regional Magistrates Courts, a High Court and a
Court of Appeal (the Supreme Court), which are independent of crown
control. In addition traditional courts (Swazi Courts or National
Courts) deal with minor offenses and violations of traditional Swazi
law and custom.
Judges are appointed by the King and are usually expatriates from
South Africa. The Supreme Court, which replaced the previous Court
of Appeal, consists of the Chief Justice and at least four other
Supreme Court judges. The High Court consists of the Chief Justice and
at least four High Court judges.
2007–2010: Richard Banda
2010–2015: Michael Ramodibedi
2015–present: Bheki Maphalala
Further information: Military of Swaziland
Swaziland Army officers.
Military of Swaziland
Military of Swaziland (Umbutfo
Swaziland Defense Force) is used
primarily during domestic protests, with some border and customs
duties. The military has never been involved in a foreign
conflict. The King is the
Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Force
and the substantive Minister of the Ministry of Defence.
There are approximately 3,000 personnel in the defence force, with the
army being the largest component. There is a small air wing, which
is mainly used for transporting the King as well as cargo and
personnel, surveying land with search and rescue functions, and
mobilising in case of a national emergency.
Main article: Regions of Swaziland
Swaziland is divided into four regions: Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini and
Shiselweni. In each of the four regions, there are several tinkhundla
(singular inkhundla). The regions are managed by a regional
administrator, who is aided by elected members in each inkhundla.
The local government is divided into differently structured rural and
urban councils depending on the level of development in the area.
Although there are different political structures to the local
authorities, effectively the urban councils are municipalities and the
rural councils are the tinkhundla. There are twelve municipalities and
There are three tiers of government in the urban areas and these are
city councils, town councils and town boards. This variation considers
the size of the town or city. Equally there are three tiers in the
rural areas which are the regional administration at the regional
level, tinkhundla and chiefdoms. Decisions are made by full council
based on recommendations made by the various sub-committees. The town
clerk is the chief advisor in each local council council or town
There are twelve declared urban areas, comprising two city councils,
three town councils and seven town boards. The main cities and towns
Swaziland are Manzini, Mbabane,
Siteki which are also
regional capitals. The first two have city councils and the latter two
have town councils. Other small towns or urban area with substantial
population are Ezulwini, Matsapha, Hlatikhulu, Pigg's Peak, Simunye
and Big Bend.
As noted above, there are 55 tinkhundla in
Swaziland and each elects
one representative to the House of Assembly of Swaziland. Each
inkhundla has a development committee (bucopho) elected from the
various constituency chiefdoms in its area for a five-year term.
Bucopho bring to the inkhundla all matters of interest and concern to
their various chiefdoms, and take back to the chiefdoms the decisions
of the inkhundla. The chairman of the bucopho is elected at the
inkhundla and is called indvuna ye nkhundla.
These are the administrative regions of Swaziland. The major towns and
regional capitals are also shown.
Main article: Geography of Swaziland
Landscape in Swaziland
Topographic map of Swaziland
Swaziland lies across a fault which runs from the Drakensberg
Mountains of Lesotho, north through the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe,
and forms the Great Rift Valley of Kenya.
A small, landlocked kingdom,
Swaziland is bordered in the North, West
and South by the Republic of South
Africa and by
Mozambique in the
Swaziland has a land area of 17,364 km2.
Swaziland has four
separate geographical regions. These run from North to South and are
determined by altitude.
Swaziland is located at approximately
Swaziland has a wide variety of landscapes,
from the mountains along the Mozambican border to savannas in the east
and rain forest in the northwest. Several rivers flow through the
country, such as the Great Usutu River.
Along the eastern border with
Mozambique is the Lubombo, a mountain
ridge, at an altitude of around 600 metres. The mountains are broken
by the canyons of three rivers, the Ngwavuma, the Usutu and the
Mbuluzi River. This is cattle ranching country. The western border of
Swaziland, with an average altitude of 1200 metres, lies on the edge
of an escarpment. Between the mountains rivers rush through deep
gorges. Mbabane, the capital, is located on the Highveld.
The Middleveld, lying at an average 700 metres above sea level is the
most densely populated region of
Swaziland with a lower rainfall than
the mountains. Manzini, the principal commercial and industrial city,
is situated in the Middleveld.
Lowveld of Swaziland, at around 250 metres, is less populated than
other areas and presents a typical African bush country of thorn trees
and grasslands. Development of the region was inhibited, in early
days, by the scourge of malaria.
Further information: Climate of Swaziland
Swaziland is divided into four climatic regions, the Highveld,
Lowveld and Lubombo plateau. The seasons are the reverse
of those in the Northern Hemisphere with December being mid-summer and
June mid-winter. Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the
summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms.
Winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld
in the West, between 1,000 and 2,000 mm (39.4 and 78.7 in)
depending on the year. The further East, the less rain, with the
Lowveld recording 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) per annum.
Variations in temperature are also related to the altitude of the
different regions. The
Highveld temperature is temperate and seldom
uncomfortably hot, while the
Lowveld may record temperatures around
40 °C (104 °F) in summer.
The average temperatures at Mbabane, according to seasons:
18 °C (64.4 °F)
20 °C (68 °F)
17 °C (62.6 °F)
13 °C (55.4 °F)
Main article: Wildlife of Swaziland
See also: Category:Flora of Swaziland
There are known to be 507 bird species in Swaziland, including 11
globally threatened species and four introduced species, and 107
mammal species endemic to Swaziland, including the critically
South-central black rhinoceros
South-central black rhinoceros and seven other endangered
or vulnerable species.
Protected areas of Swaziland
Protected areas of Swaziland include seven nature reserves, four
frontier conservation areas and three wildlife or game reserves. Hlane
Royal National Park, the largest park in Swaziland, is rich in bird
life, including white-backed vultures, white-headed, lappet-faced and
Cape vultures, raptors such as martial eagles, bateleurs, and
long-crested eagles, and the southernmost nesting site of the marabou
Main article: Economy of Swaziland
A proportional representation of Swaziland's exports.
Swaziland's economy is diverse, with agriculture, forestry and mining
accounting for about 13% of GDP, manufacturing (textiles and
sugar-related processing) representing 37% of GDP and
services – with government services in the lead –
constituting 50% of GDP. Title Deed Lands (TDLs), where the bulk of
high value crops are grown (sugar, forestry, and citrus) are
characterised by high levels of investment and irrigation, and high
About 75% of the population is employed in subsistence agriculture
Swazi Nation Land (SNL). In contrast with the commercial farms,
Swazi Nation Land suffers from low productivity and investment. This
dual nature of the Swazi economy, with high productivity in textile
manufacturing and in the industrialised agricultural TDLs on the one
hand, and declining productivity subsistence agriculture (on SNL) on
the other, may well explain the country's overall low growth, high
inequality and unemployment.
Economic growth in
Swaziland has lagged behind that of its neighbours.
Real GDP growth since 2001 has averaged 2.8%, nearly 2 percentage
points lower than growth in other Southern African Customs Union
(SACU) member countries. Low agricultural productivity in the SNLs,
repeated droughts, the devastating effect of
HIV/AIDS and an overly
large and inefficient government sector are likely contributing
factors. Swaziland's public finances deteriorated in the late 1990s
following sizeable surpluses a decade earlier. A combination of
declining revenues and increased spending led to significant budget
Central bank of
Swaziland in Mbabane
The considerable spending did not lead to more growth and did not
benefit the poor. Much of the increased spending has gone to current
expenditures related to wages, transfers, and subsidies. The wage bill
today constitutes over 15% of GDP and 55% of total public spending;
these are some of the highest levels on the African continent. The
recent rapid growth in
SACU revenues has, however, reversed the fiscal
situation, and a sizeable surplus was recorded since 2006. SACU
revenues today account for over 60% of total government revenues. On
the positive side, the external debt burden has declined markedly over
the last 20 years, and domestic debt is almost negligible; external
debt as a percent of GDP was less than 20% in 2006.
The Swazi economy is very closely linked to the economy of South
Africa, from which it receives over 90% of its imports and to which it
sends about 70% of its exports. Swaziland's other key trading partners
United States and the EU, from whom the country has received
trade preferences for apparel exports (under the African Growth and
Opportunity Act – AGOA – to the US) and for sugar (to
the EU). Under these agreements, both apparel and sugar exports did
well, with rapid growth and a strong inflow of foreign direct
investment. Textile exports grew by over 200% between 2000 and 2005
and sugar exports increasing by more than 50% over the same period.
Swaziland is part of the
Southern African Customs Union
Southern African Customs Union (green)
The continued vibrancy of the export sector is threatened by the
removal of trade preferences for textiles, the accession to similar
preferences for East Asian countries, and the phasing out of
preferential prices for sugar to the EU market.
Swaziland will thus
have to face the challenge of remaining competitive in a changing
global environment. A crucial factor in addressing this challenge is
the investment climate.
The recently concluded Investment Climate Assessment provides some
positive findings in this regard, namely that
Swaziland firms are
among the most productive in Sub-Saharan Africa, although they are
less productive than firms in the most productive middle-income
countries in other regions. They compare more favourably with firms
from lower middle income countries, but are hampered by inadequate
governance arrangements and infrastructure.
Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African Rand, subsuming
Swaziland's monetary policy to South Africa. Customs duties from the
Southern African Customs Union, which may equal as much as 70% of
government revenue this year, and worker remittances from South Africa
substantially supplement domestically earned income.
Swaziland is not
poor enough to merit an
IMF program; however, the country is
struggling to reduce the size of the civil service and control costs
at public enterprises. The government is trying to improve the
atmosphere for foreign direct investment.
Main article: Demographics of Swaziland
Swaziland's population (1961–2013).
The majority of Swaziland's population is ethnically Swazi, mixed with
a small number of Zulu and White Africans, mostly people of British
Afrikaner descent. Traditionally Swazi have been subsistence
farmers and herders, but most now mix such activities with work in the
growing urban formal economy and in government. Some Swazi work in the
mines in South Africa.
Swaziland also received Portuguese settlers and African refugees from
Mozambique. Christianity in
Swaziland is sometimes mixed with
traditional beliefs and practices. Many traditionalists believe that
most Swazi ascribe a special spiritual role to the monarch.
As a result of the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS, residents
Swaziland have nearly the lowest documented life expectancy in the
world at 50.54 years, higher than only four other countries.
Further information: List of cities in Swaziland
This is a list of major cities and towns in Swaziland. The table below
also includes the population and region.
Main article: Languages of Swaziland
SiSwati (also known as Swati, Swazi or Siswati) is a Bantu
language of the Nguni Group, spoken in
Swaziland and South Africa. It
has 2.5 million speakers and is taught in schools. It is an
official language of
Swaziland (along with English) and one of the
official languages of South Africa. English is the medium of
communication in schools and in conducting business including the
About 76,000 people in the country speak Zulu. Tsonga, which
is spoken by many people throughout the region is spoken by about
19,000 people in Swaziland.
Afrikaans is also spoken by some
Main article: Religion in Swaziland
Eighty-three percent of the total population adheres to Christianity,
making it the most common religion in Swaziland. Anglican, Protestant
and indigenous African churches, including African Zionist, constitute
the majority of the Christians (40%), followed by Roman Catholicism at
20% of the population. On 18 July 2012, Ellinah Wamukoya, was elected
Anglican Bishop of Swaziland, becoming the first woman to be a bishop
in Africa. 15% of the population follows traditional religions; other
non-Christian religions practised in the country include Islam
Bahá'í Faith (0.5%), and
Hinduism (0.2%). There
The Kingdom of
Swaziland currently does not recognize non-civil
marriages such as Islamic-rite marriage contracts.
Swaziland had an estimated life expectancy of 50.9 years.
Tuberculosis is a significant problem, with an 18 percent mortality
rate. Many patients have a multi-drug resistant strain and 83 percent
are co-infected with HIV. There are roughly 14,000 new TB cases
diagnosed each year.
Mental illness is also a significant public health problem in
Swaziland. The population is made more vulnerable to mental illness
due to the prevalence of HIV and AIDS, alcohol and cannabis abuse,
sexual violence, and poverty. Additionally, not a lot of accurate
information is widely known about mental illness in the country.
Because of this, individuals with mental illness are also susceptible
Swaziland does not have an expansive mental health infrastructure. In
fact, most healthcare is centralized in cities where approximately 20%
of the population lives.There is one psychiatrist available for a
population of roughly one million. The psychiatrist works at the
National Psychiatric Referral Hospital located in Manzini and sees all
of the psychiatric patients in the country, including patients housed
at the hospital, but also prisoners, children, and people who commute
from rural villages.
Given Swaziland's situation, many health-related non-governmental
organizations, university programs, and other organizations work in
the country on research and service projects related to health.
HIV/AIDS in Swaziland
The percentage of the population with HIV is over 25%.
Swaziland is critically affected by the HIV and AIDS disease. As
reported in the 2012 CIA World Factbook,
Swaziland has the highest HIV
infection rate in the world (25.8% of all adults; more in other
reports) and a life expectancy of 50 years. From another perspective,
the last available
World Health Organization
World Health Organization data in 2002 shows that
64% of all deaths in the country were caused by HIV/AIDS.
In 2009, an estimated 7,000 people died from AIDS-related causes,
from a total population of approximately 1,185,000. This
translates into an estimated 0.6% of the population dying from AIDS
every year. Chronic illnesses that are the most prolific causes of
death in the developed world account only for a minute fraction of
deaths in Swaziland; for example, heart disease, strokes, and cancer
cause fewer than 5% of deaths in
Swaziland in total, compared to 55%
of all deaths yearly in the US.
In 2004, the
Swaziland government acknowledged for the first time that
it suffered an AIDS crisis, with 38.8% of tested pregnant women
infected with HIV (see AIDS in Africa). The then Prime Minister Themba
Dlamini declared a humanitarian crisis due to the combined effect of
drought, land degradation, increased poverty, and HIV/AIDS. According
to the 2011 UNAIDS Report,
Swaziland is close to achieving universal
HIV/AIDS treatment, defined as 80% coverage or greater.
Estimates of treatment coverage range from 70% to 80% of those
Life expectancy had fallen from 61 years in 2000 to 32
years in 2009.
Public expenditure for
HIV/AIDS was at 4% of the GDP of the country,
whereas private expenditure was at 2.3%.[specify] There were 16
physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s.[specify] Infant
mortality was at 57.19 per 1,000 in 2014,[specify] with the WHO
showing that 47% of all deaths under 5 are caused by HIV/AIDS.
Main article: Education in Swaziland
A rural primary school in Swaziland.
Education in Swaziland begins with pre-school education for infants,
primary, secondary and high school education for general education and
training (GET), and universities and colleges at tertiary level.
Pre-school education is usually for children 5-year or younger after
that the students can enroll in a primary school anywhere in the
Swaziland early childhood care and education (ECCE)
centres are in the form of preschools or neighbourhood care points
(NCPs). In the country 21.6% of preschool age children have access to
early childhood education.
Primary education in
Swaziland begins at the age of six. It is a
seven-year programme that culminates with an end of Primary school
Examination [SPC] in grade 7 which is a locally based assessment
administered by the Examinations Council through schools. Primary
Education is from grade 1 to grade 7.
The secondary and high school education system in
Swaziland is a
five-year programme divided into three years junior secondary and two
years senior secondary. There is an external public examination
(Junior Certificate) at the end of the junior secondary that learners
have to pass to progress to the senior secondary level. The
Examination Council of
Swaziland (ECOS) administers this examination.
At the end of the senior secondary level, learners sit for a public
Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary Education
(SGCSE) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education
(IGCSE) which is accredited by the Cambridge International Examination
(CIE). A few schools offer the Advanced Studies (AS) programme in
There are 830 public schools in
Swaziland including primary, secondary
and high schools. There also 34 recognized private schools with an
additional 14 unrecognised. The biggest number of schools is in the
Education in Swaziland as of 2009 is free at
primary level mainly first through the fourth grade and also free for
orphaned and vulnerable children but not compulsory.
In 1996, the net primary school enrollment rate was 90.8%, with gender
parity at the primary level. In 1998, 80.5% of children reached
Swaziland is home to a United World College. In 1963
Waterford school, later named Waterford Kamhlaba United World College
of Southern Africa, was founded as southern Africa's first multiracial
school. In 1981 Waterford Kamhlaba joined the United World Colleges
movement as the first and only United World College on the African
Adult and non-formal education centres are Sebenta National Institute
for adult basic literacy and Emlalatini Development Centre which
provides alternative educational opportunities for school children and
young adults who have not been able to complete their schooling.
The University of Swaziland, Southern African Nazarene University and
Swaziland Christian University are the institutions that offer
university education in the country. A campus of Limkokwing University
of Creative Technology can be found at Sidvwashini, a suburb of the
capital Mbabane. There are some teaching and nursing assistant
colleges around the country. Ngwane Teacher's College and William
Pitcher College are the country's teaching colleges. The Good Shepherd
Siteki is home to the College for Nursing
University of Swaziland
University of Swaziland is the national university which was
established in 1982 by act of parliament and is headquartered at
Kwaluseni with two more campuses in
Mbabane and Luyengo. The
Southern African Nazarene University (SANU) was established in 2010 as
a merger of the Nazarene College of Nursing, College of Theology and
the Nazarene Teachers College. It is located in Manzini next to the
Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital.
Swaziland Christian University, focusing on medical education and
established in 2012, is Swaziland's newest university. It is
located in Mbabane. The campus of Limkokwing University was opened
Swaziland in 2012 and is located at Sidvwashini in Mbabane.
The main centre for technical training in
Swaziland is the Swaziland
College of Technology which is slated to become a full university.
It aims to provide and facilitating high quality training and learning
in technology and business studies in collaboration with the
Commercial, Industrial and Public Sectors. Other technical and
vocational institutions are the Gwamile Vocational and Commercial
Training Institute located in
Matsapha and the Manzini Industrial and
Training Centre (MITC) in Manzini. Other vocational institutions
Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Center and Siteki
Industrial Training Centre.
In addition to these institutions,
Swaziland also has the Swaziland
Institute of Management and Public Administration (SIMPA) and
Institute of Development Management (IDM). SIMPA is a government owned
management and development institute and IDM is a regional
organisation in Botswana,
Swaziland that provides
training, consultancy, and research in management. North Carolina
State University's Poole College of Management is a sister school of
SIMPA.  The Mananga management centre was established as Mananga
Agricultural Management Centre in 1972 as an International Management
Development Centre catering for middle and senior managers, it is
located at Ezulwini.
Main article: Culture of Swaziland
See also: Music of Swaziland
The principal Swazi social unit is the homestead, a traditional
beehive hut thatched with dry grass. In a polygamous homestead, each
wife has her own hut and yard surrounded by reed fences. There are
three structures for sleeping, cooking, and storage (brewing beer). In
larger homesteads there are also structures used as bachelors'
quarters and guest accommodation.
Central to the traditional homestead is the cattle byre, a circular
area enclosed by large logs interspaced with branches. The cattle byre
has ritual as well as practical significance as a store of wealth and
symbol of prestige. It contains sealed grain pits. Facing the cattle
byre is the great hut which is occupied by the mother of the headman.
The headman is central to all homestead affairs and he is often
polygamous. He leads through example and advises his wives on all
social affairs of the home as well as seeing to the larger survival of
the family. He also spends time socialising with the young boys, who
are often his sons or close relatives, advising them on the
expectations of growing up and manhood.
Sangoma is a traditional diviner chosen by the ancestors of that
particular family. The training of the
Sangoma is called "kwetfwasa".
At the end of the training, a graduation ceremony takes place where
all the local sangoma come together for feasting and dancing. The
diviner is consulted for various reasons, such as the cause of
sickness or even death. His diagnosis is based on "kubhula", a process
of communication, through trance, with the natural superpowers. The
Inyanga (a medical and pharmaceutical specialist in western terms)
possesses the bone throwing skill ("kushaya ematsambo") used to
determine the cause of the sickness.
The most important cultural event in
Swaziland is the Incwala
ceremony. It is held on the fourth day after the full moon nearest the
longest day, 21 December.
Incwala is often translated in English as
"first fruits ceremony", but the King's tasting of the new harvest is
only one aspect among many in this long pageant.
Incwala is best
translated as "Kingship Ceremony": when there is no king, there is no
Incwala. It is high treason for any other person to hold an Incwala.
Every Swazi may take part in the public parts of the Incwala. The
climax of the event is the fourth day of the Big Incwala. The key
figures are the King, Queen Mother, royal wives and children, the
royal governors (indunas), the chiefs, the regiments, and the
"bemanti" or "water people".
Swaziland's most well-known cultural event is the annual Umhlanga Reed
Dance. In the eight-day ceremony, girls cut reeds and present them to
the queen mother and then dance. (There is no formal competition.) It
is done in late August or early September. Only childless, unmarried
girls can take part. The aims of the ceremony are to preserve girls'
chastity, provide tribute labour for the Queen mother, and to
encourage solidarity by working together. The royal family appoints a
commoner maiden to be "induna" (captain) of the girls and she
announces over the radio the dates of the ceremony. She will be an
expert dancer and knowledgeable on royal protocol. One of the King's
daughters will be her counterpart.
Reed Dance today is not an ancient ceremony but a development of
the old "umchwasho" custom. In "umchwasho", all young girls were
placed in a female age-regiment. If any girl became pregnant outside
of marriage, her family paid a fine of one cow to the local chief.
After a number of years, when the girls had reached a marriageable
age, they would perform labour service for the Queen Mother, ending
with dancing and feasting. The country was under the chastity rite of
"umchwasho" until 19 August 2005.
Swaziland is also known for a strong presence in the handcrafts
industry. The formalised handcraft businesses of
Swaziland employ over
2,500 people, many of whom are women (per TechnoServe Swaziland
Handcrafts Impact Study, February 2011). The products are unique and
reflect the culture of Swaziland, ranging from housewares, to artistic
decorations, to complex glass, stone, or wood artwork.
Sikhanyiso Dlamini at the reed dance (umhlanga) festival
A traditional homestead in Swaziland
Swazi warriors at the incwala ceremony
Child labour in Swaziland
Cuisine of Swaziland
Index of Swaziland-related articles
Outline of Swaziland
Transport in Swaziland
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^ Company History Mananga Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback
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