|Kingdom of Swaziland
"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
|Capital||Lobamba (royal / legislative)
|Government||Unitary parliamentary absolute constitutional monarchy|
|-||King||King Mswati III|
|-||Prime Minister||Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini |
|Legislature||Parliament of Swaziland|
|-||Lower house||House of Assembly|
|-||from British Mandate||6 September 1968|
|-||Total||17,364 km2 (157th)
6,704 sq mi
|-||2009 estimate||1,185,000 (154th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.536
medium · 141st
|Currency||South African Rand
Swazi Lilangeni (
|Time zone||SAST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||SZ|
|Estimates for the country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.|
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland (Swazi: Umbuso waseSwatini), and sometimes called Ngwane or Eswatini, is a landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th-century king Mswati II.
Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west. Swaziland has a very diverse topography with varying climate. The climatic regions of Swaziland are the Highveld, Middleveld, Lowveld and Lubombo Plateau. The Highveld being the coolest and the Lowveld the warmest. The climate is temperate in the west, but may reach 40 °C (104 °F) in summer in the lowveld. The western half is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in the west. Many large rivers run through the country with Usutu River, Mbuluzi River, Komati River and Ngwavuma River among the largest rivers. Major game reserves exist around the country such as Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Malolotja Nature Reserve and Hlane Royal National Park among others. Since October 2013, Swaziland and its national parks can been seen on Google Street View making Swaziland the fourth country in Africa to be included.
The area that Swaziland now covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose primary language is siSwati. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Anglo-Boer War saw the United Kingdom make Swaziland a protectorate under its direct control. Swaziland gained independence in 1968. Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state is the king, who appoints the prime minister and a small number of representatives for both chambers of parliament. Elections are held every five years to determine the majority of the representatives. A new constitution was adopted in 2005.
Swaziland is a lower middle income country with a GDP per capita of $5,807 amongst the highest in Africa. Some 75% of the population practice subsistence farming, and between 2000 and 2006, 60% of the population lived on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day. Swaziland's main trading partners are South Africa, United States, European Union, and its currency is pegged to the South African Rand along with Lesotho and Namibia. Swaziland is also one of the most unequal countries in the world, with a GINI coefficient of 51.5. However its inequality is the lowest among Southern African countries of Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho.
Swaziland has experience in recent history issues pertaining public health. HIV/AIDS and to a lesser extend TB have remain a huge health challenge. As of year 2013 Swaziland has an estimated life expectancy of 50 years. The population of Swaziland like other African countries is fairly young. The median age is 20.5 year with people 14 years old and below making up 37.4% of the total population. The population growth rate is 1.195% which is close to the world's average population growth.
Swaziland is well known for its culture, in the months of August/September and December/January, the most important national events take place in Swaziland. In August, umhlanga is held over a six day period where unmarried girls carry reeds to pay homage to the Queen mother. In December or January, depending on the phases of the moon, Swaziland holds incwala which is the dance of the kingship. This event is held every year when there is a king.
Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age 200,000 years ago have been found in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Prehistoric rock art paintings date from ca. 25,000 B.C. and continue up to the 19th century.
The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers.They were largely replaced by the Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations who hailed from the Great Lakes regions of eastern Africa. Evidence of agriculture and iron use dates from about the 4th century and people speaking languages ancestral to current Sotho and Nguni languages began settling no later than the 11th century. The Bantu people known as the Swazis established iron-working and settled farming colonies in the 15th century after crossing the Limpopo river. They experienced great economic pressure from the rival Ndwandwe clans from the south.
The country derives its name from a later king, Mswati II. However, Ngwane is an alternative name for Swaziland and Dlamini remains the surname of the royal house, while Nkosi means "king". Scholarly history of Swaziland shows that independent chiefdoms and small kingdoms dominated by various clans were initially conquered and incorporated into the growing Ngwane kingdom ruled by members of the Dlamini clan sometime in the 18th and 19th centuries, long before British colonisation.
According to Swazi royalist tradition, these clans came to be classified in the Dlamini kingdom as the Emakhandzambile category of clans ("those found ahead", e.g. the Gamedze), meaning that they were on the land prior to Dlamini immigration and conquest, as opposed to the Bemdzabuko ("true Swazi") who accompanied the Dlamini kings, and the Emafikemuva ("those who came behind") who joined the kingdom later. Emakhandzambile clans initially were incorporated with wide autonomy, and often in part by granting them special ritual and political status (cf. mediatisation), but the extent of their autonomy was drastically curtailed by King Mswati II, who attacked and subdued some of the clans in the 1850s.
The autonomy of the Swaziland Nation was influenced by British rule of southern Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1881 the British government signed a convention recognising Swazi independence. However, controversial land and mineral rights concessions were made under the authority of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890 in terms of which the administration of Swaziland was also placed under that of the then South African Republic (Transvaal). Swaziland was indirectly involved in the Second Boer War (1899–1902). In 1902 Swaziland became a British Protectorate, with much of its administration (for example, postal services) being carried out from South Africa (SA postage stamps were used in Swaziland until 1933).
The Swaziland independence Constitution was promulgated by Britain in November 1963 in terms of which a legislative Council and an Executive Council 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. Swaziland was briefly a Protected State until Britain granted it full independence in 1968.
According to the US State Department, "Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), with which the U.S. began negotiating a free trade agreement in May 2003." This free trade agreement meant changes to SACU's formula, and as a result whereas "SACU receipts contribute more than half of the country's national revenue", however "due to changes in the revenue formula, Swaziland's share has dropped from 741 million dollars to 281 million dollars." As a result, in June 2011, Swaziland, fearing bankruptcy, asked for a financial bailout from South Africa.
Government and politics
Swaziland is a monarchy with constitutional provisions and Swazi Law and Custom. 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 nation. By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual substitute, the 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 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, 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 is the ex-officio member. Elections are held every five years.
In 1968, Swaziland adopted a Westminster-style constitution, but in 1973 King Sobhuza II on the advice of parliament at the time suspended it due to widespread complaints by citizens of the country. 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 constitution. Drafts were released for comment in May 1999 and November 2000. These were strongly criticised 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 family. In 2005, the constitution was put into effect, though there is still much debate in the country about the constitutional reforms. From the early seventies, there was active resistance to the royal hegemony. However despite complaints from progressive formations, support for the monarchy and the current political system remains strong in a majority of the population. Submissions were made by citizens around the country to commissions including the constitutional draft committee that they would prefer to maintain the current situation.
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 in 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.
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.
Districts and regions
Swaziland is divided into four districts and these are Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini and Shiselweni. In each of the four regions there are several tinkhundla (singular ‘inkhundla’, plural ’tinkhundla’) managed by a regional administrator through 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 12 municipalities and 55 tinkhundla. 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 district 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 authority council or town board.
There are 12 declared urban areas, comprising two city councils, three town councils and seven town boards. The main cities and towns in Swaziland are Manzini, Mbabane, Nhlangano and Siteki which are also district 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 inkundla 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 nkundla.
Districts, cities and towns
This is a list of major cities and towns in Swaziland. The table below also includes the population and district.
|Rank||City||Census 1986||Census 1997||Calc. 2005||District|
These are the administrative districts of Swaziland. The major towns and regional capitals are also shown.
Geography and climate
Swaziland lies across a geological fault which runs from the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho, north through the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe, forms the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and, eventually, peters out in present-day Turkey.
A small, land-locked Kingdom, Swaziland is bordered in the North, West and South by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the East. Although Swaziland has a land area of only 17,364 km2, roughly the size of Wales or the American State of New Jersey, it contains four separate geographical regions. These run from North to South and are determined by altitude. Swaziland is located at approximately 26°30'S, 31°30'E. Swaziland also offers 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 meters. 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 the country, with an average altitude of 1200 meters, lies on the edge of an escarpment. Between the mountains rivers rush through deep gorges making this a most scenic region. Mbabane, the capital, is located on the Highveld. The Middleveld, lying at an average 700 meters 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. The Lowveld of Swaziland, at around 250 meters, 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.
Swaziland is divided into four climatic regions, the Highveld, Middleveld, 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:
|Spring||September – October||18 °C (64.4 °F)|
|Summer||November – March||20 °C (68 °F)|
|Autumn||April – May||17 °C (62.6 °F)|
|Winter||June – August||13 °C (55.4 °F)|
Swaziland's economy is diversified, 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 productivity. Nevertheless, the majority of the population – about 75%—is employed in subsistence agriculture on Swazi Nation Land (SNL), which, in contrast, 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 deficits.
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 South African economy, 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 are the 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.
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.
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 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 access to HIV/AIDS treatment, defined as 80% coverage or greater. Estimates of treatment coverage range from 70% to 80% of those infected. Life expectancy had fallen from 61 years in 2000 to 32 years in 2009. Tuberculosis is also a significant problem, with an 18% mortality rate. Many patients have a multi-drug resistant strain, and 83% are co-infected with HIV.
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 69 per 1,000 in 2005,[specify] with the WHO showing that 47% of all deaths under 5 are caused by HIV/AIDS.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
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.
The 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 the cause of sickness or even death. His diagnosis is based on "kubhula", a process of communication, through trance, with the natural super-powers. 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.
Today's Reed Dance is not an ancient ceremony, but developed out 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.
Education in Swaziland is now 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 enrolment rate was 90.8%, with gender parity at the primary level. In 1998, 80.5% of children reached grade five. The University of Swaziland, Limkokwing university, Southern Nazarene University, Swaziland Christian University and some colleges provide higher education. The Swaziland National Library Service operates public community libraries throughout Swaziland and establishes school libraries in partnership with Fundza, a non-governmental organization and the African Library Project.
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 continent.
The majority of Swaziland's population is ethnically Swazi, mixed with a small number of Zulu and White Africans, mostly people of British and 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. Residents of Swaziland have the lowest documented life expectancy in the world at 31.88 years, less than half the world average of 69.4.
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 press.
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 residents of Afrikaner descent.
82.70% 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, the Revd Ellinah Wamukoya, was elected Anglican Bishop of Swaziland, becoming the first woman bishop in Africa. There are also smaller numbers non-Christian religions practised in the country such as Islam (0.95%), the Bahá'í Faith (0.5%), and Hinduism (0.15%). There are 14 Jewish families.
- Cuisine of Swaziland
- Index of Swaziland-related articles
- Outline of Swaziland
- Transport in Swaziland
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- Swaziland entry at The World Factbook
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- Central Business Institute Swaziland
- Swazi Live Swaziland accommodation and business directory
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- Key Development Forecasts for Swaziland from International Futures
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- Photographs of Swaziland Wildlife – Hlane Royal National Park, Mkhaya Game Reserve