Mswati III, King

Mswati III, King

King Mswati III

Isak and Petra Heath with King Mswati III

On the eastern side the Kingdom of Swaziland borders with Mozambique and the rest of the country shares the border with the Republic of South Africa.

During 1966 the late King Sobhuza married Ntombi Tfwala, and on 19 April 1969 a son was born at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital, only four months before Swaziland attained independence from Britain. He was named Makhosetive – King of all Nations. ¬†After Inkosikati LaTfwala (one of the younger wives of King Sobhuza II) and her baby boy were discharged from the hospital, they went to live at Etjeni, one of King Sobhuza’s residences, near Masundwini palace.

The year 1986 marks the independence of Swaziland. King Sobhuza II was very preoccupied with the decision to name his new son at a time when great preparations were being made for the country’s independence celebrations on 6 September 1968. Guests from over 50 countries (including kings) were invited and 42 countries from all over the world have accepted the invitation. Most countries promised to be represented at the celebrations.

Prince Makosetive grew up in the Ezulwini valley where his friends lived in their traditional bee-hive huts next to the UsuthuRiver.

As a young prince, Mswati attended the MasundwiniPrimary School near Lobamba Royal Residence, and later the LozithaPalaceSchool. He sat for the Swaziland Primary Certificate examination in December 1982 at Phondo Royal Residence and got a First Class with merits in Mathematics and English. With his friends he sometimes looked after cattle and swam in the sacred hot water pool, the Mantjolo Pool.

During this time he attended several traditional Swazi ceremonies with his father, the late King Sobuza, e.g. the Incwala, the Simine Dance and accompanied him on the Butima – the Royal hunt.

Prince Makhosetive enjoyed marching and drilling to such an extent, that when he was four years old, he wanted to become a member of the royal guard. A year later his dream was fulfilled when he became the first young cadet to join the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF). Boys of his age later joined him. Prince Makhosetive took his military training seriously. When he was not at school, he spent his free time training with the soldiers at the Masundwini military barracks near the Etjeni royal residence. The traditionalists in the defence force loved him, and he was still a great admirer of Brigadier Dube of the Force when he was 25 years old.

In 1983, at the age of 15, he was sent to further his schooling in London. Because he was too young to take up the throne, he continued with his education, attending Sherborne, a prestigious school in the south of England for four years. This school has a high reputation for academic achievement and attracts pupils from all over the world who later go to positions of importance in professional and public life. Prince Makhosetive studied English, Mathematics, Business Studies, Geography, Physical Science and Economics while at Sherbourne. He still has contact with friends from his schooldays.

The Crown Prince made periodic visits to Swaziland to participate in rituals in preparation for his accession to the Throne.

As a result of the troublesome years and political instability at that time he was called back to the country and at an age of 15 years and 5 months he was introduced as crown prince in the cattle byre in September 1983. It is interesting to note that Swaziland does not follow the rule of the eldest son as successor to the throne but rather select the most suitable son.

On 25 April 1986 Prince Makosetive was crowned king of Swaziland at the age of 18, thus becoming the youngest ruling monarch in the world. His name was changed to King Mswati III.  King Sobhuza II, his father, died in 1982 at the age of 82, and to date is still regarded as the longest reigning monarch. He ruled from 1921 to 1982.

As head of the nation, the king rules the country in conjunction with the Queen Mother – the Ndlovokati, and often he consults with the nation as well as with certain interest groups.

He is the patron of the Royal Swazi Police Force.

As king it is expected of him to attend the annual Umcwasho – the reed cut ceremony during September, and he is expected to choose a new bride. The King uses the battle-ax as part of his attire. This battle-ax, made of solid 18 carat gold, was a gift from the South African Government at his crowning. During this ceremony everybody wears traditional dress.

In Swaziland the King is known as Ngwenyama (Lion) and the Queen Mother as the Indlovokati (Elephant)

A feather of the Knysna lourie is a symbol of Royalty and is worn by members of the Royal family. It is interesting to note the number of feathers that they wear at particular occasions. The King uses a few feathers to show his royalty (his audience with the Pope) and then to show that he is superior to the other person he uses a lot more feathers (his audience with Prince Charles)

Swaziland is part of the British Commonwealth and has good relations with Britain as well as the British Monarchy.

On an international level the country belong to the PTA (Preferential Trade Agreement), The World Health Organization, United Nations, Universal Postal Union, and the Red Cross Organization.

The country takes part in the Commonwealth, and the Olympic Games.

Lastly, every year, with the appearance of the last full moon of the year, the King attends the Incwala ceremony. While the King goes in seclusion the Bemanti fetches water from rivers and the sea for the ceremony. Young boys from the Lusekwane bring tree branches from the Lebombo area. At a predetermined date the nation gathers in the Royal cattle byre and the King comes out of seclusion.Mswati III then dances with his warriors who pledges their loyalty to him, and he receives a mandate from his people to govern for another year.