Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, said he was visited by God at the weekend and this resulted in unseasonal electrical storms in the country – and a new name for the country’s controversial political system.
He said the storm was sent by God to accompany his vision.
The South African Weather Service interpreted it differently, reporting that a cold front from South Africa to the north colliding with warm air from the Mozambique Channel had created thunderstorm conditions in Swaziland.
I was curious about Mswati, whom I was not familiar with. So, for a thumbnail view, I checked out his wikipedia page. He seems to be known for his opulent lifestyle. But there are some good things he advocated for, like free speech. This bit however, tells me something about privilege and backwards thinking:
In an attempt to mitigate the HIV and AIDS pandemic in 2001, the king used his traditional powers to invoke a time-honoured chastity rite (umcwasho), which encouraged all Swazi maidens to abstain from sexual relations for five years. This rite banned sexual relations for Swazis under 18 years of age from 9 September 2001 and 19 August 2005, but just two months after imposing the ban, he violated this decree when he married a 17-year-old girl, who became his 13th wife. As per custom, he was fined a cow by members of her regiment, which he duly paid.
There’s an asinine plan and a sense that Swaziland is not a place you’d probably want to live.
Tip: Leo Igwe