April 2018 saw Mswati III announce that Swaziland – the name given to the country by the British – would be no more. Author Sophie Ibbotson was in the newly renamed eSwatini for the celebrations.Read more...
Swaziland - At a glance
Swaziland at a glance
Location Southern Africa – in northeastern South Africa against the Mozambique border, south of Tropic of Capricorn
Neighbouring countries South Africa (west, north and south), Mozambique (east)
Size 17,364km² (6,704 square miles)
Climate Temperate/subtropical; temperature and rainfall highest in summer (November–March). Rainfall higher and temperatures lower in western regions.
Status Absolute monarchy
Population 1.1 million (World Bank 2011); growth rate 1.15% (World Bank 2011)
Life expectancy 49 years at birth (2012)
Capital Mbabane; population c80,000
Other main towns Manzini, Matsapha, Nhlangano, Piggs Peak, Big Bend
Economy Principal earners are sugar, forestry and mining; manufacturing (textile and sugar products); services. 75% of population employed in subsistence agriculture; average growth rate since 2001 2.8%; South Africa accounts for 90% of imports and 70% of exports.
GDP US$3.977 billion per annum; US$3,725 per capita per annum (World Bank 2011)
Official languages SiSwati and English (English is language of instruction in schools); minority languages include Zulu, Tsonga and Afrikaans
Religion Christianity (82%), including African Zionist and numerous other evangelical denominations. Also Islam, Baha’i and Hinduism in small numbers.
Currency Lilangeni (SZL), plural emalangeni; parity with South African rand (ZAR) (for up-to-date rates, go to www.xe.com)
National airport/airline Matsapha International Airport (aka Manzini International Airport). No national airline – Royal Swazi International Airways ceased operating in 1999. Airlink Swaziland flies to/from Johannesburg.
International telephone code +268
Time South African Standard Time (UTC/GMT+2)
Electrical voltage 230V (50Hz); sockets take South African ‘type M’ plugs (three large round pins)
Weights and measures Metric
Flag Narrow horizontal stripes of blue and yellow above and below a broad central band of red, with a horizontal warrior’s shield and spears at the centre
National anthem Nkulunkulu Mnikati wetibusiso temaSwati (‘Oh God, Bestower of the Blessings of the Swazi’)
National animals The purple-crested turaco (ligwalagwala) is the royal bird; the lion (ngwenyama) is symbolic of the king
National sport Football
Public holidays 1 January (New Year’s Day); Good Friday; Easter Monday; 19 April (King’s Birthday); 25 April (National Flag Day); 1 May (Labour Day); Ascension Day; 22 July (Birthday of late King Sobhuza II); late August/ early September (Umhlanga, reed dance); 6 September (Somhlolo (Independence) Day); late December/early January (Incwala, first fruits ceremony); 25 December (Christmas Day); 26 December (Boxing Day)