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Eswatini (former Swaziland)

Okay, now, Striders, put on your shoes

We’re going to leave Maseru

Yes, we’re leaving Lesotho

And guess where we’re going to go


Ever hear of the Kingdom of Eswatini?

NO?  Well it’s an absolute monarchy

Since 1986, ruled by King Mswati the Third

In English we say Swaziland's the word


Unhlanga, the Reed Dance Ceremony

A Zulu event held in August/September annually

By the thousands, unmarried childless girls

Travel to participate In this eight day whirl

They venture here for their future life

As here King Maswati will choose a wife!

But if the unwed girl has a child, now

Her family would be fined a cow    

Incwala, ritual of the kingship, is another national ceremony

Controlled by water priests called  Bemanti

Tinslla, the artificial blood-brothers of the king

Shadow the King’s performance and things

Interesting, were there no king

then no ceremony would bring

Upon the death of King Sobhuza

Longest reigning monarch in history:  83 years                 

Followed by his wife, Daekkwe Shongwa

Designated leader until their son turned 18

Prince Makhosetive, his name: King Mswati III

Swaziland/Switerland/ some confusion

So celebrating 50 years of independence in 2018

Kin Msawti III came to this conclusion

Renamed Swaziland to Kingdom of Eswatini


Artifacts date back to the early Stone Age

27,000 years ago, rock painting was all the rage

Today, Eswatini is divided into 4 regions

Mountain, savannahs, rainforests and rivers


Yes, Eswatini has a military.                                     

Never used in foreign conflict, you see

Borders, security and domestic protests

Keep the military busy


Climate change is an issue, no doubt

Storm intensity coupled with persistent drought

Growing deserts and food insecurity

Reduced river flows; increased poverty


Guess how many bird species?

507!  But 11 are threatened globally

How many mammal species? A hundred and three

Rhinos are endangered critically

Seven others may yield to vulnerability


Education is as important there as it is here

Gender parity in the primary years

80% reached grade 5, but not so many after

Then Africa’s  first multi-racial school:  

Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa,

Doesn’t that define ‘really cool’


Other noteworthy facts:

1.   The Headman is central to all homesteads

         Leads by example, advices his wives


2.  The Sangoma is a traditional Devine

     healer and clarivoyant…

    chosen by the ancestors of the family then

     trained & graduated then consulted for health purposes

     Makes diagnosis based on “kubhula”

     A bone throwing skill


3.  Lowest life expectancy (58) in the world;

     26% of adults are HIV/AIDS positive

     Take a look at the next attachment to see

     What SLF is doing to help this country. 


4.  To see the top 10 things to do, check it out here! 



SLF Supports Projects in Eswatini 


Eswatini leads the world with adult prevalence of AIDS at 27%.  SLF Partners with three organizations in Eswatini. (Their websites still say Swaziland.)

Swaziland Nurses Association Wellness Centre for Health Workers

and their Families 

Last year The Centre officially opened its doors in Manzini. The Centre, to be run by the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA), aims to address the severe health worker crisis in Swaziland through attention to the health, well-being and capacity of the health work force. It will deliver health and other professional services to all Swazi health workers and their immediate families. It is the first of its kind.

The Centre is an innovative partnership between the SNA, the International Council of Nurses, The Danish Nurses' Organization, the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Becton Dickinson Corporation.  “The Centre will tackle the many barriers to health and wellness services which health workers face, allowing for a strengthened health care workforce, better able to meet the enormous health challenges in Swaziland today,” declared ICN President Dr Hiroko Minami.  Mr. N. Mabuza (Eswatini Minister of Health and Social Welfare) added, “To care for carers is a Government responsibility and total obligation.”

Housed in a brand new, accredited clinic, the Centre will provide stress management; a knowledge resource and training centre for continuous professional development; antenatal expertise; testing, counselling and treatment for HIV and TB; and occupational health and safety services such as post exposure prophylaxis and needlestick injury surveillance. ”These workers are overstressed and under-valued,“ said Grete Christiensen, Vice President of the Danish Nurses Organization. 


Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA)  Esser Street, Manzini

SWAGAA addresses Gender Based Violence and sexual abuse through 3 areas: Prevention, Care and Support and Access to Justice.

Clubs such as school-based Girls Empowerment and Boys for Change foster a culture of equality and equity. Club members participate in guided discussions, songs and games. Club mentors teach about GBV, children's rights, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse. They also cultivate leadership skills and confidence.

The first training workshop for young men (aged 18-30) to become mentors through the Boys for Change program began in February 2018. This was  to promote the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality and ending gender-based violence.  SWAGAA is working on an integrated approach to prevention and response to GBV in 9 Tinkhundla (municipalities) throughout Eswatini.


The focus of counselling is on the physical and emotional needs of survivors to help them better manage and overcome the impacts of violence. The Child Counselling Unit employs one Case Manager who is trained in child counselling.  Travelling to remote communities and finding safe and private spaces to provide care and support services for abused children can be a challenge. 

SWAGAA  also supports children who interact with the criminal justice system and participate in trials, working with legal practitioners and magistrates to sensitize them on how to interact with children during court proceedings.

Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL) was co-founded and directed by Siphiwe Hlophe and four other HIV-positive women in 2004 as a mutual support group to deal with the stigma and discrimination they were facing.  It now has 5,700 members in 45 communities, and a mobile clinic.  We all know Siphiwe from the book “The Power of Love. “  In 1999 she was working as a manager in a hotel chain when she won a scholarship to study agricultural economics at Bradford University.  A condition of the scholarship was that she took an HIV test, the result of which showed her to be HIV-positive, after which her husband left her, and she lost her scholarship.  This showed the stigma that is attached to HIV in Swaziland, and spurred Siphiwe on to co-found SWAPOL to help others in similar situations.

The organization is highly active in challenging the policies of the Swazi government on its AIDS and Women's Rights policies.  

It aims

·  to provide training and education in HIV/AIDS to rural communities

·  to promote positive living and good nutrition to rural communities

·  to provide services of counselling to the grieving families

·  to establish income generating projects in rural communities

·  to take care of the terminally ill patients in rural communities

·  to take care of the orphans and vulnerable children.



Siphiwe in action

Siphewe Hlophe loves Stephen Lewis because one day he told the king of Swaziland that she was more important than he was. "What kind of man is this?" she asked!  When Stephen Lewis, acting as special envoy to the secretary-general of the United Nations, visited her and her people in Swaziland, the prime minister of that country had called Lewis, asking him to abandon his plans and come to the palace immediately because the King had requested to meet him. Hlophe heard Lewis ask: "Is the King leaving the country?  No, then tell him to wait, I'm coming," Hlophe cries out, still laughing at the indiscretion. "You know, I love that man” (Lewis).

“When Stephen said we'll continue to meet with the women with the ideas, I was so excited," said Hlophe. So, they went off to see the agricultural projects that SWAPOL has created.

"He turned to me and said, 'I am going to Ghana tomorrow, but I am so touched I have for you a cheque for 30,000 American dollars.' I was running up and down, I was so excited," she laughs.   Up to that point, her operation was running out of the back seat of her car. Now it had an office and a computer and plans for expansion.

Today SWAPOL helps develop projects like medical care, sourcing nutritious food and developing community safety. They find medical aid for those who are sick and they look after the orphans who are left behind. They have expanded to incorporate projects like community gardens and  creating small businesses.


“Our grannies have changed so much. When we first started to work with them it was because they were the ones in our communities that were the most desperate and needed the most help. For those who have been in groups all these years, they are now the people we work with who are the most advanced, who have the most to offer their communities.” says Cecile Dlamini, program co-ordinator, SWAPOL.

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