Stories written by Mantoe Phakathi

From Subsistence to Profit, Swazi Farmers Get a Helping Hand

Men in blue overalls are offloading vegetables from trucks while their female counterparts dress and pack the fresh produce before storing it in a cold room.

Marriage a Barrier to ARV treatment for Swazi Women

For months, Nonkululeko Msibi could not find her voice each time she wanted to share the news to her husband. She had learned that she was infected with HIV at the age of 16 when delivering her firstborn baby at Swaziland's Mbabane Government Hospital.

Breast Is Best, But Not in Swaziland

Smiling as she breastfeeds her six-week-old baby boy, Lindiwe Dlamini, 38, is optimistic about his future.

Big Coal Angles For a Slice of Climate Finance Pie

Power generation is a major contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Choosing the right options for less-polluting energy sources in the future is a vital question – in which energy-starved Africa has a keen interest.

Concerns Over Role of Corporates at Climate Talks

As deliberations continue in earnest at the 19th United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Warsaw, negotiators from the Global South welcome a focus on financing adaptation – but reject a new emphasis on a role for the private sector.

It’s the Day to Buy Votes in Swaziland

As Swaziland goes to the polls for the second and final round of voting in its general elections on Sept. 20, giveaways have become the order of the day in this southern African nation.

Swazi Chiefs Shut Women Out of Parliament

Archaic and chauvinistic practices are being used to prevent Swazi women from taking part in the upcoming primary elections, despite the country having a constitution that guarantees their rights, says political analyst Dr. Sikelela Dlamini.

Crossing Borders with Trade

Experts are agreed that the key to unlocking the economic potential of the Southern African Development Community lies in easing cross-border flows of people, goods, capital and services.

Dirt Isn’t So Cheap After All

Each year, 12 million hectares of land - where 20 million tonnes of grain could have been grown - are lost to degradation.

Eradicating Hunger in a World of Plenty

The world today faces a rather stunning paradox. We produce enough to feed seven billion people, but high prices and other factors have pushed adequate nutrition out of reach for more than one in 10, says Maria Helena Semedo, deputy director general-knowledge at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). 

African Farmers Lead the Way

Development in Africa will only be led through agriculture, says the CEO of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki.

In Swaziland, Seeds Beat Drought

The overcast sky is a sign that it might rain, and Happy Shongwe, a smallholder farmer from rural Maphungwane in eastern Swaziland, is not exactly happy.

The Search for Swaziland’s TB-Infected Mine Workers

For more than a decade after 1992, when Swazi gold miner Benson Maseko, 50, fell ill with chest pains and a nagging cough, he did not seek treatment.

/UPDATE*/Boreholes, Boreholes Everywhere….And Not a Drop to Drink

Every day for the last four years, 52-year-old Tintfombi Msibi has had to walk past the borehole in her village of Ekuphakameni, one of the driest rural villages in southern Swaziland, to a dirty stream two kilometres away to collect drinking water.

The Struggle to Keep Swaziland’s Primary Schools Free

As the Swazi government struggles to guarantee a no-cost nationwide primary school system, it finds itself sparring against school principals over the question if it is a lack of funds or an abundance of corruption that is standing in the way of its success. 

From Doha to Dakar, Food Insecurity is the Norm

Qatar may be one of the richest countries in the world, but it has something in common with its African counterparts – food insecurity.


Taking the Knowledge of Doha Back to Kenya’s Rural Communities

The skyscraper Qatari capital city of Doha is a far cry from Cecilia Kibe’s home in Turkana district, a remote area in Kenya inhabited by mostly nomadic communities and pastoralists hit hard by the effects of climate change.

In 2012, Swaziland’s King Faces People Power

Swaziland’s King Mswati III is under immense pressure following the constitutional crisis that has resulted from his cabinet’s refusal to resign after the House of Assembly passed a vote of no confidence.

Teachers’ Strike Does Not Mean Political Liberation for Swaziland

Swazis should not see the ongoing nationwide one-month teachers’ strike as a movement capable of overthrowing the political regime here, despite the fact that civil servants and nurses have joined the action, according to political analyst Dr. Sikelela Dlamini.

Community Volunteers Convince Ugandan Families to Have Fewer Children

It is midmorning at the Kanungu Health Centre IV and the queue of patients grows as more people start to arrive for treatment at this rural facility more than 400 kilometres outside the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

Margaret Gamedze earns a living doing laundry for people in her community in Msunduza, Swaziland.  Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

Living on a Meal a Day in Swaziland

Margaret Gamedze earns a living doing laundry for people in her community in Msunduza Township, which lies about a kilometre outside Swaziland’s capital city of Mbabane. But since the country’s fiscal crisis began, she no longer earns enough to pay the rent for her one-roomed mud shack, which she shares with her five children.

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