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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #47 of 54: Sudan | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #49 of 54: Tanzania »

August 13, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #48 of 54: Swaziland

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
48. SWAZILAND
Flag of Swaziland

Formal Name: Kingdom of Swaziland.

Term for Nationals: Swazi.

Capital: Mbabane. Population: 80,000.

Independence Achieved: September 6, 1968, from Britain.

Major Cities: Mbabane.

Geography:

Swaziland is in South Africa. Swaziland encompasses a land area of 6704 square miles. It is bordered by Mozambique in the north and in three sides by South Africa. Swaziland is a small country, barely 100 miles long in any direction. The soil in the middle section of the country is good for farming and most of the people live here. The climate is subtropical with two defined seasons, wet and dry.

Society:

The population of Swaziland is estimated at 1, 077,000.

Ethnic Groups: Swazi.

Languages: SiSwazi. English is the official language.

Religion: Christianity and indigenous beliefs.

Education: Primary education is available to all. Literacy estimated at 81.6%.

Economy: Many Swazi’s live in the fertile middle section of the country and practice farming. Herding of cattle, sheep and goat is done in the semi arid regions. Forestry is also practiced. Mining of iron, coal and gold and diamonds provide activity for the non-agricultural sector of the economy. GDP estimate: 4.8 billion; Per Capita: $4, 400. Monetary Unit: Lilangeni (SZL)


History and Government:

The king of Swaziland traces his rule to over 400 years. The king appoints a prime minister who governs on day-to-day level. The Swazi kingdom was powerful in the 19th century and controlled a rather large swat of territory than it does today. The Zulu then descended on the Swazis and wrecked havoc before the British finally subdued them. The expanding Boers exerted pressure on the Swazis and expropriated a large portion of their lands and included it into the province of Transvaal. After the British Boer war, Swaziland was made a British protectorate in 1902. In 1964 it regained its independence and is ruled by its king via his prime minister. The country is divided into 4 districts.



CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AND POLITICS


The original people living in what is now called Swaziland were the Khoisan. Bantus swept into the area during the Bantu migration from West Africa. The Country is now primarily made up of Swazi, a Bantu group.

Britain took control of Swaziland after the second Boer war in 1902. In 1968 Britain gave Swaziland independence.
Swaziland is a constitutional monarchy. The King rules and does so through a legislature and prime minister and his council of ministers. The King can sack the parliament, the prime minister and his ministers, as he once did (1968-1973).

The country is divided into four districts

The economy is based on subsistence farming. Swazi essentially go to South Africa to find meaningful work. What money there is in the country is spent maintaining the king, his harem and their expensive luxury cars and palaces, while the rest of the country live in abject poverty. Swaziland has the lowest income per capita in Africa.

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

Posted by Administrator at August 13, 2006 10:50 AM

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