Friday, April 20, 2007

Only 33 candles – The Swazi king turns 39

Decorations (tri-colored banner and Swazi shield) over main road from Mbabane to Manzini

The controversial, polygamous king of Swaziland turned thirty-nine years old yesterday.

It was a national holiday. Our clinic was closed, as was almost everything else.

He celebrated the occasion in the town of Siteki, about 1.5 hours from here.

It is rumored to have been quite a celebration. (See news story links below.)

Though I was unable to make the trip to Siteki yesterday, the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative is here with the royal family’s blessing…

…and, as I am happy to be in Swaziland, I would like to take this opportunity to formally wish His Majesty a happy [belated] birthday.

May he have many, many more.

I extend the same wish to his impoverished, beleaguered countrymen, for the current collective healthy life expectancy for Swazi males is 33 years.

On my next birthday, I will be 32.


For more details on the royal birthday party, see the cover stories in today’s Swazi Times, including stories about the birthday cake itself and a young boy who gave the king "his last hen".
In the interest of, um, balanced reporting, I have also included the link to a story titled “Group slams King's R15m bash.”
(By the way, my birthday is June 15th.)


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