Languages: SiSwati, English
When the Zulu began their expansion in 1830, the Sotho people to the west and the Swazi to the east managed to resist the onslaught of Shaka's disciplined warriors thanks to the leadership of their respective kings, Moshoeshoe and Sobhuza. Both kingdoms later became British protectorates, Basutholand in 1868 and Swaziland in 1894.
The black people of Swaziland were thus saved from the ordeal of apartheid but they hardly fared better under the traditionally absolutist monarchy who owned all the land and leased the better parts of it to white settlers
Sobhuza II was succeeded in 1986 by one of his 600 children who was crowned King Mswati III who abolished the Liqoqo advisory council. The first elections for a cosmetic National Assembly were held in 1993 but real power remains in the King's hands.
|Lonely Planet CIA|
Getting here was half the fun. In Durban I took a taxi to the Interstate bus station which was the only public transport available for Mbabane. The Interstate bus line is used only by blacks. I left around 2 PM on a bus full of Swazi women peddlers who were returning home with whatever merchandise they had not sold at the Durban market. I was sleeping when the bus arrived in Mbabane around 2 AM, no one woke me up so I slept on until daybreak.
Allister Miller street where I found a hotel for 20 US$.
There was not much to see in Mbabane but I had to stay a couple of days to get a visa for Mozambique. There was an interesting market where I bought a pair of soapstone heads which I shipped home. I brought back few pictures because attempts to take photos provoked angry cries and even some rock throwing near the market.
There was nobody around the Swazi Plaza shopping center on Sunday so it was safe to photograph.
The following Tuesday I took a mini bus to nearby Manzini and a regular bus from there to Maputo.