The tiny southern African kingdom of Swaziland is crippled with HIV/AIDS and  economically dependent on South Africa. Vocal demands for multiparty democracy have been ignored.

Geography: Mainly high plateaus and mountains. Rolling grasslands and low scrub plains to the east. Pine forests on western border.

 Climate: Temperatures rise and rainfall declines as the land descends eastward, from high to low grassy veld.

 People and Society: One of Africa’s most conservative states, though there is pressure from urban-based modernizers. Political system promotes Swazi tradition and is dominated by powerful monarchy. Women face discrimination. Swaziland has world’s highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS: chastity is urged to combat its spread.

 The Economy: Sugarcane is the main cash crop. Wood pulp and soft drink concentrates are also exported. Loss of workforce to HIV/AIDS, and high cost of health care.

 Insight: Polygamy is practiced in Swaziland – when King Sobhuza died in 1982, he left 100 widows


 Official Name: Kingdom of Swaziland

 Date of Formation: 1968

 Capital: Mbabane

 Population: 1.18 million

 Total Area: 6704 sq. miles (17,363 sq. km)

 Density: 178 people per sq. mile

 Languages: English*, siSwati*, isiZulu, Xitsonga

 Religions: Christian 60%, traditional beliefs 40%

 Ethnic Mix: Swazi 97%, other 3%

 Government: Monarchy

 Currency: Lilangeni = 100 cents

DX Countries


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