Thursday, January 29, 2009


There is no doubt in my mind that people in the free world are getting the message about how undemocratic a kingdom Swaziland is.

The latest example comes from ABC television in the United States, which has been running a series about royal families around the world and this week featured King Mswati III of Swaziland.

ABC aired a short film on the king and also published a lengthy feature article on its website. The reporter left the audience in no doubt about the reality of life in Swaziland between the royal family and ordinary folk.

The film shows the king at the 40/40 celebrations in 2008 which marked the king’s 40th birthday and also at the Reed Dance, at which tens of thousands of bare breasted maidens dance for the king.

‘Flashy cars, fancy palaces and demanded adoration [from the people] are trademarks’ of King Mswati’s rule, it says.

But, the report goes on, ‘Outside the royal parties is a country teetering on collapse,’ with the highest HIV infection rate in the world and where ‘poverty and hunger are rampant’.

King Mswati, the report says, ‘tolerates absolutely no dissent’.

It sums up Swaziland very well I think, with this phrase. ‘Critics say what he [the king] calls tradition, the rest of the world calls dictatorship’.

To see the filmed report, which lasts a little over a minute click below. To see the film and the written feature article click here.

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