Country Profiles:
Eswatini

Eswatini, officially Kingdom of Swaziland, Swazi Umbuso Weswatini, landlocked country in the eastern flank of South Africa. It is neighbored by Mozambique to its northeast and by South Africa to its north, west and south; it is a landlocked country. The country and its people take their names from Mswati II, the 19th-century king under whose rule Swazi territory was expanded and unified. The country is an absolute monarchy, ruled by Ngwenyama (“King”) Mswati III since 1986. He is head of state and appoints the country’s prime ministers and a number of representatives of both chambers (Senate and House of Assembly) in the country’s parliament. Elections are held every five years to determine the House of Assembly and the Senate majority. The administrative center is Mbabane, the former capital of the British colonial administration. The national capital is the seat of King Mswati III and his mother, the Ndlovukati, some 11 miles from Mbabane, at Phondvo in the vicinity of Lobamba, where the houses of parliament and other national institutions are situated. In 1899, as a result of the Anglo-Boer war, Britain transformed Swaziland into a protectorate under its direct control. Subsequently, throughout the colonial period, Swaziland was governed by a resident administrator, one that ruled according to legal orders issued by the British High Commissioner for South Africa. Britain expected that Swaziland would ultimately be incorporated into South Africa, however South Africa’s intensified racial discrimination post-World War II pushed the United Kingdom to arrange for the independence of Swaziland. Political parties began to form in the 1960s, including the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM) run by King Sobhuza II and his Inner Council. Swaziland gained its independence in 1968 with the INM winning 75% of the vote. In 1973, King Sobhuza replaced the constitution and dissolved the parliament, assuming all powers. Eventually a new parliament formed, one that was chosen in part by elections and direct appointment by the king. According to UNICEF Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate in the world (26% of all adults) and the lowest life expectancy at 32 years of age.

Agriculture, manufacturing and the service industry are the dominant factors of the Swaziland economy.

The processing of agricultural, forest, and livestock products forms the backbone of the industrial sector. Other manufactures include textiles and clothing, which expanded enormously in the 1980s. The country ha limited mineral resources, although, asbestos and coal are the most important minerals. Also, diamonds have been growing in importance and are now the second largest mineral export after asbestos. Government revenue is derived principally from receipts from the Southern African Customs Union, sales tax, and corporate and personal taxation.

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. The Swazi nation is an amalgamation of more than 70 clans. Their chiefs form the traditional hierarchy under the ngwenyama and ndlovukazi, who are of the largest clan, the Dlamini. Many of the clans were of Sotho and Nguni origins that entered the country with the Dlamini in the early 19th century. SiSwati (also known as Swati, Swazi or Siswati) is a Bantu language of the Nguni Group, spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. Both SiSwati and English are official languages of Swaziland.

Cuisine in Swaziland is largely determined by the seasons and the geographical region.

Staple foods in Swaziland include sorghum and maize, often served with goat meat, The farming industry mainly depends on sugar cane, tobacco, rice, corn, peanuts, and the exportation of goat meat and beef. Many Swazis are subsistence farmers who supplement their diet with food bought from markets. Popular dishes includes: Sidvudvu

(Porridge made of pumpkin mixed with cornmeal); Umncweba (Dried uncooked meat (biltong); Umkhunsu (Cooked and dried meat); Siphuphe semabhontjisi (Thick porridge made of mashed beans); Tinkhobe (Boiled whole maize); Umbidvo wetintsanga (Cooked pumpkin tops (leaves) mixed with ground nuts); Sishwala (Thick porridge normally served with meat or vegetables); Incwancwa (Sour porridge made of fermented cornmeal); Sitfubi (Fresh milk cooked and mixed with cornmeal).

Swaziland has a vast array of musical talent, ranging from traditional music genres to hip hop. Traditional music is usually sung during traditional ceremonies such as Umhlanga, Incwala and during traditional weddings. There are some traditional artists who have taken it to the stage with the backing of the traditional violin (Makoyane) and there are those that sing Mbacanga. Gospel is the current leading music genre in Swaziland, boasting a large following in the small kingdom. Other music genres include Kwaito, House, Jazz, Afro-soul, Choral, RnB and Hip Hop.

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