Swaziland By | Sunday, September 9  2012 at  14:55

Full Name
Kingdom of Swaziland (English)
Umbuso weSwatini (siSwati)
Originally called: Ngwane. The name means the land of Swazi, who are the main ethnic group, the nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century King Mswati II

Current Leader
King Mswati III (April 25, 1986 - present)

Overview
Bantu peoples migrated southwest to the area of Mozambique in the 16th century. A number of clans broke away from the main body in the 18th century and settled in Swaziland. In the 19th century, these clans organised as a tribe, partly because they were in constant conflict with the Zulu
The culture is mainly native Bantu
Former UK colony
Achieved independence on September 6, 1968


Form of Government
Monarchy
Head of State is King
The monarch is hereditary; Prime Minister appointed by the monarch from among the elected members of the House of Assembly

Government Structure
King, Prime Minister, Bicameral parliament/libandla

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for military service: 656,778 people
Expenditures: 4.7% of GDP
Branches: Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF): Ground Force (includes air wing)

Former Rulers
1968 - 1982 King Sobhuza II
1986 – Present King Mswati III

Capital
Mbabane
Altitude: 1,208m
Population: 76,218 people (2004)

Population
Size: 1,203,000 (2011)
Life Expectancy: 31.9 years
Gender make-up: Female -51.36 %,Men - 48.64%

GDP per capita
$6,098 (2011)

$5,928 (2010)

Geography
Area: 17,364sqkm
Land Boundaries: Mozambique 105km, South Africa 430km

Major Languages
English (official)
siSwati (official

Religious Portfolio
Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, other 30 % (includes Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish)

National Make-up
African 97%, European 3%

Natural Resources
Asbestos, Coal, Clay, Cassiterite, Hydropower, Forests, Gold and diamond deposits, Quarry stone, Talc

Main exports
Sugar, Wood pulp, Minerals

Land Use
Arable land: 10.25%
Permanent crops: 0.81%
Other: 88.94% (2005)

Currency
Lilangeni
Pegged with South Africa Rand at par

Dialling Code
+268

Internet Code
.sz

Transport
Main Airport: Matsapha International Airport (MTS) is 5km northwest of Manzini
Main Port: Landlocked

Modern issues

Environmental
Limited supplies of potable water
Wildlife populations depletion
Overgrazing
Soil degradation and erosion

Political
Anti-government pro-democracy protests which took place in 2011 did not unseat King Mswati

King Mswati is widely accused of leading a lavish lifestyle with his 13 wives, showing little concern for the plight of his subjects. Swaziland has been in the grips of a financial crisis which forced the government to ask neighbouring South Africa for a bailout of $330m to pay its bills. South Africa did offer them the bail-out, of which King Mswati demanded a $57m cut for his efforts in securing it, under certain conditionalities, however the International Monetary Fund rejected the King’s loan requests

Economic
The financial crisis in 2011 saw the threat of renewed protests as the government scrambled to pull together enough loans from local banks and private businesses to pay civil servants

Sugar and wood pulp remain important foreign exchange earners
Mining has declined in recent years with only coal and quarry stone mines remaining active.
Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa from which it receives more than nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends 60% of its exports. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income

Social
HIV/Aids prevalence is high, Member of Parliament Timothy Myeni has suggested making tests compulsory and then forcing those infected to be permanently marked with a warning logo
Swazi kings pick new wives during the reed dance

Foreign Policy issues
In 2006, Swazi king advocates resorted to ICJ to claim parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa
Swaziland has maintained cordial relations with South Africa. This relationship has involved the coordination of security and intelligence operations

The Major Conflicts

Anglo-Boer war

When: 1899-1902
Who: Boers vs British
Why: Fight for territory
Boers engaged the British forces in guerilla warfare tactics, primarily conducting raids aimed at disrupting the operational capacity of the British Army
Outcome: British won and Swaziland became British protectorate

Independence
There was no armed struggle for independence, it was a peaceful transition

What to see
Maguga Dam Wall
Ango-Boer war museum
Nsangwini Rock Art
Ngwenya Mine
Hlane Royal National Park

Sports
Popular Sports
Football
Rugby

Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Dennis Yuki Mcebo Masina is a popular Swazi footballer, who currently plays for Orlando Pirates in the South African Premier Soccer League

Quirks
The reed dance where women expose their breasts and dance then King picks a virgin as a wife