Sunday, September 6, 2009


Every Friday in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Swaziland Solidarity Network holds a picket to protest against the undemocratic regime in Swaziland and for the release of Mario Masuku, president of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), who is in jail awaiting trial on terrorism / sedition charges.. Each week the pickets hand in a petition for King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, detailing SSN’s grievances.

Below is a media release from SSN about the picket that took place last Friday (4 September 2009).

Picket continues, Three young Mswati fans disagree

Today at the Swaziland Solidarity Network picket, a group of three young Swazi students studying at Wits University approached us. They were trying to understand why we couldn't find another set of issues to "complain about", meaning "turn to Zimbabwe" and leave Swaziland alone. Apart from passersby enquiring on the status of our protests, it was a fairly new experience since the first weekly protest in January this year that supporters of the regime were prepared to engage. From their elegant attire, you could almost tell their social stationing, a potential middles class, from urban towns of Swaziland with ages ranges between 18 & 20.

One of them called Angel who led these young students in engaging the comrades, confessed that they were Swazis. We explained the basics in our memorandum for 5 minutes. At first they thought we were belligerent Swazis. After a moment of listening attentively she went on to put her points across. "The King is doing a lot for us. Even myself, he pays R60 000 of my fees. Those people who are complaining are lazy, why don't they do something for themselves. They are the problem not the King. Imagine when young people just make children and do nothing for themselves". "The government has paid for my fees even in matric up until I came to varsity".

One comrade explained the liberation struggle background, how Swazis helped South Africa's ANC-led movement liberate us and the importance of supporting their call for democracy. At that point it was time to deliver the memorandum and when protesters got called upon to observe the memorandum handing over, they silently disappeared into Standard Bank for some transactions. The Vice Consul responsible for Admin, Mrs Gamedze received the memorandum on behalf of the King. She promised to deliver it to the Pretoria High Commission of Swaziland and give it the attention of Commissioner Muntu Mswane.

The young ladies rocked up and another discussion ensued. This time the focus was on fruitless royal expenditure. The ladies defended the King's expenditure on his wives. "Its his personal money his father King Sobhuza left him in the Swiss accounts". They reminded each other of the video footage in "Without the King". At least they watched it. The comrades insisted that the money was stolen property, thousands of the people are poor, the education system is a far cry from what they've gone through. it has been degenerating gradually. Primary education is now paid for, despite court judgements instructing the state to reinstitute it.

In short, the Swazi government is reacting to the demonstrations, through its beneficiaries by rebutting SSN public profiling of repression in Swaziland. The ladies did not know what Pudemo is, what Solidarity is.

We invited them to participate in a seminar at Wits University. Their representatives will probably be invited. The protesters celebrated how the young supporters of the King of Swaziland were able to use our democracy in South Africa to engage in an open discussion. Only if they knew this is illegal inside their own country.

At least one Swati gentleman is joining us next week for the protest, this time against the King.

Long Live democracy long live. Long Live free primary education Long Live!

For more information contact

Lucky Lukhele: SSN National spokesperson

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