Swaziland "The Switzerland of Africa"
Introduction • Africa’s best kept secret • Beautiful topography • “Switzerland of Africa” • One of only three monarchies left in Africa • Committed to safe guarding rich culture
People are very warm and friendly • Swazilad can be accessed through any of their 12 border posts. • No matter where you are in the kingdom, you’ll be met with courtesy, friendliness and the genuine desire to help
The Royal Family • In April 1986 Mswati III was crowned as Ruler of the Kingdom of Swaziland • Family name of royalty- Dlamini • King may have number of wives • When he dies, Queen mother immediately loses her status • The new Queen Mother becomes First Lady of the Royal Household and the most influential woman in the Kingdom.
The eldest son of the late King is not necessarily the successor • The King must be a member of the Dlamini family; the Queen Mother may not be a Dlamini.
Lifestyle and Culture Drive along any road in Swaziland and you will likely see many Swazis dressed in colourful costume, featuring a colourful toga-like garment - mahiya. You may also meet Swazi warriors carrying shields, knob-sticks and sometimes spears and battle-axes. The women that you encounter may sport the traditional "beehive" hairstyle, which is still very popular today.
traditional ways still retain a firm hold Most people in Swaziland regard the traditional system as valuable, preserving as it does the fabric of society. For all the modernisation that has come to Swaziland, the people have preserved their age-old culture and traditional ceremonies.
Festival of the Fruits Held every year- Nov/Dec officials visit the main rivers of Swaziland and return to the Nations ancestral home, on the shores of the Indian Ocean near Maputo, to gather sea water. King in seclusion When the water gatherers return, and at the time of the full moon, the young men of the Nation congregate at the Kings residence. He orders them to march to Egundvwini that first afternoon of Ncwala, a distance of 40 kilometres, to gather branches of the lusekwane tree. They arrive, by mid-night, with the branches.
As the youths rest, the elders use the branches to construct a sacred bower for the King alongside the Royal cattle Byre. The warriors of the Nation assemble, dressed in special Ncwala consumes of ox hide and leopard skin. Ritual songs, which may not be recorded and which are taboo at other times of the year, are sung. A black bull is driven into the King's bower and this animal is used for the mystic and sacred purposes of the ceremony.
The King joins the warriors in dance on the fourth day and the Queen Mother and official guests attend. Only after the King has eaten part of a pumpkin may the Swazi consume newly-grown crops. No work done on the fifth day which is set aside for rest and meditation. • On the sixth day, firewood is collected for a massive bonfire on which articles are burned representing the year just past. To signify the start of a new year, the ancestral spirits are entreated to quench the bonfire with rain. The Ncwala ends with singing, dancing and feasting.
The Umhlanga Reed Dance • Another major ceremony is Umhlanga or the Reed Dance which is held during a week at the end of August or early September. Swazi maidens, of marriageable age, gather at the Queen Mother's residence and set out in parties to gather reeds. The reeds are used to repair the windbreak around the Queen Mothers residence.
The girls return by the fourth evening and spend the fifth day preparing their elaborate costumes for dancing. The singing and rhythmic dancing takes place on the afternoon of the sixth and seventh days at the Royal Village.
What else is there to do? • Visit National Parks • Royal Swazi Sun: Casinos and Entertainment areas • Spas and beauty clinics • Golf • Horse riding • White water rafting • Quad biking • Shopping