The democratisation of Swaziland: inside or outside job?

swaziland-pudemo-2013-194The small absolute monarchy of Swaziland is best known for its tourism, “unique” culture tied to its monarchy, and the cultural and spending exploits of playboy-king Mswati III, not for its repressive regime and ongoing struggle for democracy.

Swaziland is nominally a middle income country that is seldom condemned by world leaders and rarely mentioned in the international media, even though it is one of the most unequal, poverty-stricken and unfree countries in the world, and even though King Mswati spends millions of dollars on prestige projects and personal jets while his subjects starve. Read more of this post

We all have Aids – an account from the democracy movement in Swaziland

TB flourishes in a country where people’s immune defence system is low. And it is particularly well-suited to a country such as Swaziland, where at least half of the people one meets have Aids. TB and Aids are king.

I am standing at Nazarene Government Hospital in Manzini together with the country coordinator of PUDEMO – an illegal party. We are visiting the wife of one of his brothers. His brother is not here. Maybe his feels guilty, or maybe he thinks we believe him to be guilty. As for his wife, lying in the bed in front of us – what does she make of it all? Read more of this post