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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Give a woman a hand-out and you feed her for a day. But teach her to farm, and how to add value to her product, and you feed her and her family for a lifetime. And if she happens to be Nigerian smallholder farmer Susan Godwin, she in turn will also provide jobs for her community and become a national food hero.
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.
Carolina Poalo strikes the dry earth over and over with her hoe, her frail body bent almost double. She is determined to begin planting. During the long, dry season in Mozambique, she and her two young grandchildren have eaten little but cassava leaves.
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.