Culture and resistance in Swaziland

Culture and resistance in Swaziland

Author: 
Debly, Teresa
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2014
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 32, No.3, July 2014, pp. 284-301
Abstract: 

This article investigates the current political struggle in Swaziland, focusing on the role of culture in the growing resistance by youth and other opposition groups to the political repression and naked greed of Swaziland’s monarchy under King Mswati III. As this article shows, to date, opposition groups have been thwarted in their campaign for broad, but fairly straightforward, political changes in Swaziland: multi-party elections, parliamentary democracy, increased rights and citizens’ participation in politics. The article explains that the King continues to use (and manipulate) culture and tradition to justify his authority, in particular through institutions like the ‘traditional Parliament’, tinkhundla, and the state investment company, tibiyo. These are, however, not part of ancient Swazi tradition; they were created by the monarchy in recent history to help the regime maintain its authority. To challenge the legitimacy of the king’s rule, the opposition also creatively uses culture and tradition. The article shows how political dissidents have used songs and music, especially at funerals of political dissidents, to ‘re-claim’ culture and tradition in order to keep the struggle for political reform alive.

Language: 
Country focus: 

CITATION: Debly, Teresa. Culture and resistance in Swaziland . : Taylor & Francis Group , 2014. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 32, No.3, July 2014, pp. 284-301 - Available at: http://library.au.int/culture-and-resistance-swaziland-31