Saturday, May 15, 2010


The following is a statement from the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) concerning the refusal of Swazi authorities to allow the body of Swazi democracy activist Sipho Jele to be buried in his home land.

14 May, 2010

It is taken for granted that oppression in the banana kingdom of Swaziland lasts from the cradle to the mortuary. However, in the case of the fallen comrade, Sipho Jele, the king and his feudal henchmen have decided to take it beyond the mortuary and even beyond the grave, that is if he will have a grave at all.

The feudal authorities, the chief in particular, in Sipho Jele’s home area, eNcabaneni, have refused to allow his family to bury him there. The reasons given for this insensitive act are that Sipho was opposed to the Tinkhundla system of government and hence cannot be buried on land owned by the supreme authority within that system, the king. A further claim is that he does not belong to that area; this is despite the fact that he was a well known member of the community.

Since Jele’s spirit is now resting with his ancestors and cannot be bothered by any childish antics that the state and the royal authorities mete out on his body, it is clear that this move is meant to punish the family.

The king, in 2008, at the cattle bye made it clear in his statement that can loosely translated to mean that, “families should keep watch of their dogs”. This meant that all would bear the wrath of family members who dare to criticise his rule. The family has been extremely brave and unwavering in its quest to unravel the truth about the death of its beloved son. This has not gone down well with the country’s rulers who would have preferred that the world be content with the disgraceful lie that he hung himself with blanket seam.

Denying a family the right to bury a relative, in Swazi culture, is an abomination. One wonders exactly how an authority known to be the “custodian of culture” can order such a thing to happen. It hoped that all conscientious organisations in the country will stand by the family in their hour of great sorrow and pain.

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] South Africa Chapter

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