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

Swazi school principals threaten school closures

School principals in Swaziland, a small absolute monarchy in Southern Africa with one million inhabitants, threaten to close down the country’s schools indefinitely on Monday. The purpose of these closures is to protest the recent and unannounced cut-backs on Swaziland’s schools.

The principals are particularly angry at the Swazi government’s non-payment of the fees for Swaziland’s over 100.000 Aids-orphans and vulnerable children who subsequently cannot afford to attend school, 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