Stories written by Mantoe Phakathi

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.

Swaziland’s Cooperatives No Threat to Banks

Nomsa Tsabedze is one of the many people at the Bunye Betfu, Buhle Betfu Credit and Savings Cooperatives waiting to apply for a loan to pay for her children’s school fees.

SWAZILAND-SOUTH AFRICA: New Railway Line to Boost Economies

The 146-kilometre railway line to be established between South Africa and Swaziland will help reduce the cost of doing business between the two countries.

SWAZILAND: Small Loans for Young Entrepreneurs to Help Fight Crisis

While the Swazi economy is teetering on the brink of collapse, the government is banking on the future by providing funds to help young people set up businesses.

SWAZILAND: Processing Plant Threatens Water in Capital

A multi-million dollar iron-ore reprocessing plant in the northern part of Swaziland, owned by Indian mining company Salgaocar, is threatening the water security of local communities and even the country’s capital city, Mbabane.

Boricha village in Namibia, a biodiversity hotspot to be cleared to make way for a 10,000 hectare agricultural development.  Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

Civil Society Groups Call for Action to Curb Land Grabbing

Civil society organisations are calling on governments in developing countries to stop leasing and selling out land to transnational corporations because it leads to land degradation and food insecurity.

Yacouba Sawadogo, a peasant farmer from Burkina Faso, saved his arid land from desertification.  Credit: Mantoe Phakathi

AFRICA: “The Man Who Stopped the Desert”

Yacouba Sawadogo, a peasant farmer from Burkina Faso, is known as the "man who stopped the desert." But when he first tried to save his arid land from desertification by planting the trees that have since grown into a 15-hectare forest, people in his village thought he was mad.

Ministry of Education and Training Principal Secretary Pat Muir (centre) said closing down schools until payment was made was not acceptable.  Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

SWAZILAND: No Fees No School

The future education of Swazi children remains uncertain, as public schools across the country have not reopened for the new term because government has not been able to pay for their upkeep.

University of Swaziland students. The university failed to open this term because of a lack of funds from government. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

SWAZILAND: Disagreement on How South African Loan Should be Spent

Despite the 2.4 billion emalangeni (342 million dollar) loan from the South African government to its cash-strapped neighbour, Swaziland is sinking deeper into debt.

Swazi lawyers delivering their complaint to the High court.  Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

SWAZILAND: Women and Children Bear Brunt of Lawyers’ Strike

The standoff between the Law Society of Swaziland and the Judicial Services Commission is negatively affecting women, and their children, who are seeking justice from abuse.

Information is one of the most important tools citizens need to make informed decisions, especially about education.  Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

SWAZILAND: Impossible for Children to Access Public Information

Many public officials in Swaziland do not think that access to information is a public right, but rather a privilege – which can be withdrawn at anytime.

SWAZILAND: Economic Crisis Means Short Supply of ARVs

Swaziland’s economic crisis has affected its ability to provide healthcare as the country’s buffer stock of antiretrovirals (ARVs) has fallen below the prescribed three-month supply.

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