Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Wouldn't it be great if the next king of England turned up for his coronation dressed like this?!

Open the BBC Country profile and its first paragraph simply makes you shake your head in deep desolation, desuetude and even desperation: 

"The kingdom of Swaziland," it states, neutral and factually objective, "is one of the world's last remaining absolute monarchies."

But you are the stalwart sort, inured against those three Ds, and so you read on:

"The king rules by decree over his million subjects, most of whom live in the countryside and follow traditional ways of life."

Traditional ways of life, in that part of Africa, generally mean a life of grinding poverty, trying to make something grow in barren soil, with limited if any access to education or health care – even without researching it, we can assume it must be barren soil, because if it were good soil for agriculture, then South Africa would have swallowed it up in the days of the British or the Afrikaaners, and taken advantage of the fertility for itself, as it did the gold and the diamonds.

The current representative of the Swazi gods on Earth is Mswati III, who has held that exalted position since 1986; his father held it for a full sixty years before him, and he too maintained the important tradition of taking unto himself a new wife at least once every year.

There have been challenges to the royal authority, but political parties are not permitted, and the new democratic constitution written by the king, debated in a wide forum that included the king, his alter ego in the mirror, and his chamberlain, and finally, after much soul-wrenching, approved by the king, confirmed the will of the majority of the people that absolute monarchy should remain in place for ever.

And for those who are not dying from starvation, malnutrition, drought, famine or the foolishness of stating their opposition to the absolute rule of the king, there is also AIDS, which has now affected almost 30% of the adult population, and reduced average life expectancy to below fifty. In this one matter, kings and the people are on an equal footing.

Marks for: 0

Marks against: III

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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