Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Independence Day in Swaziland

Independence Day 6 September
Once upon a time there was a powerful nation that went around the world and colonized many countries. One of these countries that became a British protectorate in 1903 was Swaziland. The Nguni people have always been governed by a monarch. The previous king, Sobhuza II, ruled this nation from 1921 till his death in 1982, as paramount chief and later as the internationally recognised king. The British governed the territory until 1967 when it once again became a self-governing state, flying its own flag. 
The symbolism of the flag: The red stands for past battles, the blue for peace and stability, and the yellow for the resources of Swaziland. The central focus of the flag is a shield and two spears, symbolizing protection from the country's enemies. Its colour is meant to show that white and black people live in peaceful coexistence in Swaziland. The flag is based on one given by King Sobhuza II to the Swazi Pioneer Corps in 1941. On it is an Emasotsha shield, laid horizontally. The shield is reinforced by a staff from which hangs injobo tassels-bunches of feathers of the widowbird and the lourie. They also decorate the shield. Above the staff are two assegais-local spears

Independence Day is celebrated in different ways in the country, with a public holiday and many festivities. Below is an article from a publication of the International Trade Union Confederation showing what those not living in Swaziland think: 

African Unions Lead Global Protests on Swaziland Independence Day 
6 September 2012: African trade unions and other civil society organisations have led international protests against Swaziland’s rulers on 6 September, the country’s independence day.
A 5 September picket in front of the Swazi consulate in Johannesburg was joined by 18 union leaders from across the continent, including Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, General Secretary of ITUC-Africa. National solidarity actions also took place in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Belgium, Germany and the UK.
The protests are part of a week of action on Swaziland, in response to the continuing suppression of the democracy movement there, including the banned national trade union centre TUCOSWA. Peaceful marches inside the country this week have been met with violent repression and arrests.
Swaziland is one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. About 60% of its population gets by on less than 1.25 USD per day, while King Mswati sends his family members shopping in Germany with his private jet. The country’s economy is in tatters after almost forty years of “Tinkhundla” rule, after a state of emergency was established in 1973, giving the monarchy almost unlimited power. Political parties are banned, there is no press freedom or independent judiciary, and the king himself appoints the government.