Thursday, September 06, 2007

Happy Swaziland Independence Day

Today marks the 39th year of Swaziland's independence. For those interested to know about the events leading up to the Kingdom's official autonomy, I have included a summary below.

"According to tradition, the people of the present Swazi nation migrated south before the 16th century to what is now Mozambique. Following a series of conflicts with people living in the area of modern Maputo, the Swazis settled in northern Zululand in about 1750. Unable to match the growing Zulu strength, the Swazis moved gradually northward in the 1800s and established themselves in the area of modern or present Swaziland.

They consolidated their hold under several able leaders. The most important was Mswati II, from whom the Swazis derive their name. Under his leadership in the 1840s, the Swazis expanded their territory to the Northwest and stabilized the southern frontier with the Zulus.

Contact with the British came early in Mswati's reign, when he asked British authorities in South Africa for assistance against Zulu raids into Swaziland. It also was during Mswati's reign that the first whites settled in the country. Following Mswati's death, the Swazis reached agreements with British and South African authorities over a range of issues, including independence, claims on resources by Europeans, administrative authority, and security.

In the early years of colonial rule, the British expected that Swaziland would eventually be incorporated into South Africa. After World War II, however, South Africa's intensification of racial discrimination induced the United Kingdom to prepare Swaziland for independence.

Political activity intensified in the early 1960s. Several political parties were formed and jostled for independence and economic development. The largely urban parties had few ties to the rural areas, where the majority of Swazis lived. The traditional Swazi leaders, including King Sobhuza II and his Inner Council, formed the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM), a political group that capitalized on its close identification with the Swazi way of life.

Responding to pressure for political change, the colonial government scheduled a popular election in mid-1964 for the first legislative council. The INM and four other parties, most having more radical platforms, competed in the election. The INM won all 24 seats.

Having solidified its political base, INM incorporated many demands of the more radical parties, especially that of immediate independence. In 1966, the UK Government agreed to discuss a new constitution, and a constitutional committee agreed on a constitutional monarchy for Swaziland, with self-government to follow parliamentary elections in 1967.

Swaziland became independent on September 6, 1968."


At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey ryan,

thanks for this awesome landscape shot. I'm assuming since you put national geographic under it, its not yours? know where it was taken from? Also- thanks for the history re: Independance Day- facinating!
-swazileigh (aka LL)

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Thanks for the comment. I can send you the camera specs via email. (there were two that I used) As for the photo, it was a google search using "Swaziland Independence Day" I think. I can check this out...


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