swaziland

 

 

 

 

Swaziland

 

When we left Zambia in 1966 we moved down to Swaziland in southern Africa.

 

My father decided to take as much furniture and personal effects as what we could reasonably transport. He bought another khombi and stripped it of its interior, leaving only the drivers seat. In this vehicle, and in our own khombi, and our boat, he packed virtually a house full of furniture! The only thing missing was the kitchen sink!

 

My mum drove one vehicle and my dad drove the other, pulling the boat. The journey would take about 5 days because of the laden vehicles. Every night when we stopped we had to semi unpack our khombi camper so that we could sleep in it! As far as I remember, there were no real major problems like vehicle break down.

 

My mum was hesitant about driving all that way, but she had no choice. I remember the day we left, the khombis were that laden that they scraped the road out of our driveway as we went over the storm water culvert!

In Africa at the time, petrol service stations were few and far between and it was customary to carry a jerry can of petrol in case you ran out before you could make it to the next town. My dad packed a few of these as well.

Petrol was rationed in Zambia and Rhodesia because of the troubles when Rhodesia declared UDI(Unilateral Declaration of Independence). To force Prime Minister Ian Smith's hand to give control of Rhodesia to the Matabele and Shona peoples, Britain and other countries cut their supply of crude oil. However, as the main pipeline to Zambia ran through Rhodesia, Zambia also had their supply of crude oil cut. Hence the rationing.

When we got to the border of Zambia and Rhodesia the border control police checked the vehicles. At first they wanted my dad to unpack the vehicles. My dad flatly refused and said if they wanted to check the contents they had to unpack the vehicles themselves and then re-pack them! This didn't please the border police and they made us wait for about 2 hours before they would let us through.

In the meantime they found the petrol-oil mix for the outboard motor on the boat and confiscated it. My dad protested that it was for the boat but the police were not convinced. My dad consoled himself on the thought of them putting it in their vehicles and causing damage! But they never found the 8 gallons of petrol in the 2 jerry cans that were just behind his seat!

Travelling through South Africa we experienced a whole new different type of countryside. Whereas Zambia and Rhodesia was mainly tropical forest, here was open landscape. Baobab trees and Acacia thorn trees, and grasslands.

Swaziland was similar, with grasslands and acacia thorn trees, and rolling hills and mountains. I remember crying that it was all so beautiful.

 

When we first arrived in Manzini which means 'at the water', we lived on a farm about 2-3 miles out until we could find a house in the town itself. Life on the farm was ok but there was no electricity and we had to use paraffin lamps for lighting, and gas bought in cylinders to cook by. There was also no phone and no television. After a few months we found a house in the town.

Manzini was originally called Bremersdorp after a trader called Albert Bremer who built and store and a hotel on the banks of the Mzimneni River. The town had two main streets which were tarred, but all the other streets in the town were gravel (dirt).

Most of the roads in the country were dirt. The tarred roads were only the ones leading from the border of South Africa, the main street through the capital, Mbabane, and the two in Manzini. The tar stopped about 5-10 miles out of Manzini on the way to Siteki (then called Stegi). There was also only one set of traffic lights in the whole country! - in Mbabane.

My dad again worked for the Town Council, my mum stayed at home, and I went to school at the local primary school, Sidney Williams which was across the way from our house in Manzini. I remember being baffled by the monetary system, which was metric (Rands and cents) ... in Zambia we still used Pounds, Shillings and Pence.

When we first arrived at our house in Manzini the garden was overgrown and the drive was dirt. When it rained the water used to rush down the drive in torrents and round the back became a sea of mud. But my dad, being my dad, paved the drive, landscaped the garden, and built a four-car carport round the back. The patio at the front he also built as originally the front door was accessed by a flight of steps. To elevate the patio, my dad first had to build a 6-7 foot high wall and back-fill this with earth. Not a problem ...

Time and time again the truck came and dumped sand and building rubble ... soon it was nearly full. By this time the driver of the truck had successfully manoevered the truck round the tree and reversed into the space between the wall and the house ... by this time he was confident enough not to reverse inch by inch ... perhaps a little too! confident ...

He misjudged the tree and drove a little too close to the retaining wall ... too close! The soil was softer nearer the wall ... the truck wheels sunk into the soil, the truck lurched over, the soil subsided more, the truck followed ... over it went! Onto its side and down came the wall with it!

My dad was fuming! He shouted obscenities at the driver! The driver lying in a crumpled heap from within the cab shouted apologies back! Fortunately he was not hurt ... only badly shaken by the experience. There was sand and brick everywhere! Well eventually they got it all cleaned up, my dad rebuilt the wall, and the same truck driver delivered more sand for back-fill. Only this time he exercised more caution!

 

 

Our house was small in comparison to some of the houses in Manzini. One of my friends remarked that their kitchen was as big as our entire house! (He wasn't far off either!)

There wasn't much in the way of entertainment in Manzini. Only one cinema, called Guillios, which was open only on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, no television, no discos. But there was a library, the sports club, a Portuguese restaurant, and the local hotels. We used to eat out a lot. In the Ezulwini Valley there was the Casino, the hot springs, and the wildlife sanctuary. Later they built two drive-in (open air) cinemas ... one near Manzini and the other in the Ezulwini valley.

Royal Swazi Inn Hotel & Casino Ezulwini Hot Springs - The Cuddle Puddle Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Viewing Lodge

 

We used to visit our friends from Zambia, Pat & John Golesworthy and their 5 children, who had also moved to Swaziland. John was a keen cricketer and played for the local team. On Sundays we used to go and watch him play, have lunch at the club, and us kids used to spend a lot of time at the swimming pool. Mostly the team played at Manzini, Malkerns, Mhlambanyati, Siteki, Big Bend, and Mbabane.

At other times my father took us on his 'adventure trips' to other parts of Swaziland. We had picnics on the mountain sides, and at the rivers. Photos that I had when we were in Swaziland were lost in transit to the U.K. but I went back in 1992 and took photos of the places that I knew.

Holidays we once again took by the coast ... Mozambique before the war, and South Africa. This time the trek wasn't as long. Lourenco Marques (Maputo) was only 120 miles away. For a while we used to go here. Until my dad read about a place up the coast called San Martinho. A lot of ex-patriates used to go to a place called Inhambane or Ponto d'Ora not far from Lourenco Marques. And in South Africa we went to Durban and Umhlanga Rocks.

Oshoek The border between Swaziland and South Africa (1992) Ezulwini Valley looking down from Mbabane (1992) Sheba's breasts

Ezulwini means 'place of heaven' in siSwati and was named after one of the early Swazi Royal kraals. The twin peaks of the Nyonyane Mountain, which means 'place of birds' are affectionately known as Sheba's breasts. The other side of the valley is flanked by the Mdimba Mountains which are riddled with caves where many of the former Kings are buried. The caves are taboo. When there is a thunder storm in this area the lightning often strikes the tops of the mountains. The valley itself is the home of the Royal Swazi Casino and Spa, which made rich pickings off the South African tourists before the Sun City was built as South Africa had a no-gambling policy; and also the two Holiday Inns. The drive-in cinema which was also built in the valley has since fallen into dis-use.

Parliament Buildings The Parliament Buildings are also in the valley about 2kms from the Casino, at a place called Lobamba,which is the centre of Government within the Kingdom. King Mswati III has his Royal Kraal and Palace here, and is the place where the ritual of the Ncwala takes place. Also at Lobamba is Somhlolo National Stadium which is used for major celebrations and events. A combined Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester United football team came to play once. And there have been a number of rock bands ... Stevie Wonder, Hawk, Peter Tosh, Little Ritchie and several South African musicians.

Also in the valley is the Mlilwane Game Sanctuary which was originally a farm estate owned by Ted Reilly having only one or two species of wildlife. In the 1940s the valley was teaming with wildlife but by the mid 1950s it had almost all disappeared due to hunting and to displacement by farming.

Ted Reilly decided to change the character of their estate and slowly began to introduce the wildlife back. Mlilwane was opened to the public in the 1960s. Since then Swaziland has created several other wildlife sanctuaries ... Hlane, Mkhaya, Malolotja, and Mlawula.

The Hippo Pool at Mlilwane

One of my friends, Mike Morrell, used to be a ranger at Mlilwane. A group of friends and I often used to visit him, sometimes staying overnight at Mlilwane.

On one trip, as me and my friend Jackie Brown were leaving the park, a warthog mum and babies ran across the road. One of the babies, however, panicked and stopped in the middle of the road. We stopped for about 5 minutes but the baby was so terrified he couldn't move, so I had to get out of the car, pick him up and put him on the side where he ran off squeeling to his mum. He was ever so sweet! My friends and I also camped a few times at Hlane when it opened.

When I went back in 1992 with the kids we stayed at Mlilwane and slept in one of the traditional Swazi huts in the campsite. We also stayed at Mkhaya in a tent. One of the Swazi rangers took a shine to my son Shaun, who was 18 months old, and carried him around everywhere with him. Shaun also had the privileged position of sitting up front in the landrover with the ranger whenever we went out on trips around Mkhaya.

My friends and I often went camping or had impromtu barbeques. Camping equipment was never a problem ... Carlos Paiva, one of my friends, used to bring along a tarpaulin from his work (Swaziland United Transport) which we used to stretch out between two cars to make a tent. And barbeques were made from a piece of wire netting placed on a circle of stones. Cutlery sometimes consisted of a sharp pointed stick!

 

When I went camping with my parents, we had all the equipment. The khombi was fitted out with its own stove, water supply, and fridge. The tent, which my dad had specially made even contained its own toilet. And of course we had camp-beds, table and chairs, knives and forks, plates.

Also in the Ezulwini valley is a place called Mantenga Falls where my friends and I often used to go for picnics by the river.

Once when we were picnicking by the river, the police came by. They said they were looking for someone who had been swept away further up the river by the falls. Five minutes after they left we found the poor lady who had drowned. Her body was floating in the river close to the bank and was caught up in some overhanging branches. One of my friends jumped in the car to call the police and they came and took her body out of the water.

In 1992 the Falls had been closed off to tourists as there had been a few rapes and murders, so the picture is from the web.

Executioner Rock

Overlooking the Falls is a mountain peak called Executioner Rock where, it is said, the Swazi used to carry out justice to criminals by throwing their bodies off the peak. Swazi girls carrying firewood ... An old Dutch farmhouse

 

 

The Incwala and Reed Dance Ceremonies

 

The Incwala is when the King carries out the "First Fruits Ceremony" and the people and his regiments pay their respect to him.

More photos from the Swaziland Trust Commission

The Reed Dance, or Unhlanga, is when the young girls pay homage to the Queen Mother, the Ndlovukazi. Most of the girls are in their teens.

During the first week the girls gather reeds from specially selected areas. On the day of the Dance, the girls wear short beaded skirts, anklets, bracelets, necklaces and colourful sashes. Each sash is decorated with streamers to denote whether the girl is betrothed. The Royal Family princesses wear red feathers in their hair and lead the girls in the dance. Each group has its own particular dance steps and song which marks their respect for the King and his mother.

Zulu Warriors ... Swazi Dancers

The men also have traditional dancing which is called Sibhaca dancing. It is vigorous with many high kick-steps and stomping of the feet to a beating drum. Zulu warriors have a similar dancing.

Zulu mine dancers

The above photo of Sibhaka Dancers was taken at the Independence Day Celebrations when Princess Alexandra of England came to visit Swaziland. The guy in the centre (under the German flag) is a white guy called Eddie Rowberry, who underwent a total culture transformation to become a 'true' Swazi. He was accepted by the Royal Family as a Swazi and was the only European to be allowed to take part in traditional ceremonies, like the Incwala.

 

Other Traditions

 

When King Sobhuza II died in 1982, it was ordered that all Swazi men had to shave their heads as a mark of respect, and all Swazi women had to wear a black cord around their heads and a belt made of plaited grass. The Europeans and other nationalities could wear a black armband if they wanted, but this was optional.

My ex-husband, who was a white Swazi National, and all his friends (black, coloured, and white Swazi Nationals) shaved their heads. I was the only European woman who wore the headband and grass belt.

Successorship to the throne is never automatic as in European Royal Families, and the successor to the throne is chosen in relation to the status of his mother. The Royal Council chooses a Queen Mother because of her high rank and she may only have one son.

The Swazi Royal Family is called 'Dlamini' and the king is thus known by the title 'Nkosi' which means Lord.

As king he is expected to unify his position by chosing wives from all sectors of the community. King Sobhuza II was reputed to have had over 80 wives.

If the new king is still a minor, the Queen Mother to the late king assumes responsibility of Regent until the prince is crowned 'Ngwenyama' (Lion). The Queen Mother is known as 'Ndlovukazi' which means 'she elephant'.

Prince Makhosetive who had been educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, England became the new king in 1986 and is known as King Mswati III . His mother Dzeliwe became Queen Regent following Sobhuza II's death until the new king became of age.

Swazis have a polygamus culture (more than one wife) and dowries 'lobola' of cattle are paid by the bridegrooms family. Rights of fatherhood are acquired through the lobola and if no cattle were given, the child remains with the mother's family.

Traditionally, young boys worked as herdboys looking after the cattle and young girls looked after their siblings and helped out in the home, carrying firewood, and in the fields.

The elderly are cared for by the family as there is no social security system as in western countries, and so having children was important as this way it was assured that you would be looked after in old age.

Swazi traditional dress is accepted alongside the European collar and tie and spears, shields, knobkerries, and animals skins are worn and carried at important functions.

Marijuana has been smoked for thousands of years in Africa. It is a part of Swazi tradition that was outlawed by the British. Special permits to smoke marijuana are possible to obtain. Source: National Archives

 

Some places around Manzini ... taken in 1992.

Ngwane Street near the turning to Meinkies Road ... the banners, shields and flags lined the streets for the Independence Day celebrations

Ngwane Street (coming down the hill from Coates Valley) ... in the spring the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom and are lovely to see Coates Valley is where the rich people lived. Having said that there is a slum area just on the other side of the Gobogobo River The Golesworthys lived in Acacia Street in Coates Valley.

Swaziland Milling Company, Tikhuba Street where I used to work

Looking at Manzini from Sidvokodvo road Guillio's Cinema and Carson Wheels (owned by my friend Carlos Paiva) ... corner of Villiers Street and Sandlane Street

The Catholic Church on the corner of Sandlane Street and Tenbergen Street.

Every Sunday they used to ring the bells and you could hear them wherever you were in Manzini. I liked sitting inside the Church, it was peaceful and the sunlight shining through the skylights gave the Church a wonderful light. As kids we once came in the Church after it had been raining. The neighbours Alsation dog followed us. He left a nice trail of muddy footprints across their nice clean floor!

My mother-in-law, Phyllis Nunn, was very religious and never missed Sunday mass. I used to go with her sometimes as did my sister-in-law Avril du Preez. Mrs. Nunn also used to prepare the flowers for the Sunday services from the flowers she used to grow in her own garden. She also used to clean the brass ornaments in the Church.

My house in Fairview 1983. When I was there it was just called Stand 276, now I see the street is called Akras Street.

Mine is the red Datsun van. This is the back of the house.

All the shrubs and plants were cultivated by our little gardener, a young boy of about 13 who was working to help out with his school fees. I was extremely impressed with his work. He never needed telling what to do. He brought the plants in from god-knows where ... little seedlings or even cuttings. For a native, and a child ... he was an incredible person. He also used to wash our two cars and two motorbikes before he went to school at his own insistence!

Mbabane is the capital of Swaziland.

I went to boarding school here. It was called St. Marks High School. And I hated it! Actually, it wasn't so bad I guess ... I was homesick for the first year and found it a bit daunting having been an only child, to now live amongst a bigger "family".

One of the nicest things about Mbabane is the scenery.

From the dinner hall at the school we used to be able to see the moon rising above the mountains as big as anything. You could see its surface very clearly. There were lots of oak trees in the school grounds and it was lovely watching them change with the seasons. In spring we used to see lots of daffodils that people had planted in their gardens. At certain times of the year, it is common to burn the old seasons grass to encourage new growth. At these times the mountain blazed with the fires. It was an awesome sight.

There were only 3 High Schools in Swaziland at the time ... St. Marks in Mbabane, Waterford Kamhlamba also in Mbabane, and the Salesian Boys School in Manzini.

 

St. Marks was a multi-racial, co-educational school. Boys and girls were mixed during classes but the boarding houses were separated. The boys living in two houses on one side of the school grounds and the girls living in two houses on the other side of the school grounds.

Berkley House was for the senior boys and prefects, and Duncan House was for the younger boys. Alice Vine House was for the senior girls and prefects, with Mary Webster House for the younger girls.

The prefects and seniors used to appoint themselves a "skivvy" or "slave" from the younger boarders, who then had to do things like clean their shoes, tidy their rooms, carry their books. Amongst the boys it was an honour to be a prefect's skivvy because it meant that they got extra priviledges. The girl prefects weren't so generous.

Each House also had House prefects who used to maintain order within the domitaries. In the senior houses these were the Head Girl and Head Boy and their Deputies. In the junior houses these were just prefects.

The boys ruled their houses with rods of iron ... and there was a saying amongst the boys that if one of them got sent for punishment from the prefects at Duncan House you came out crying, but if you got sent to Berkley House for punishment you were crying before you went in! so harsh were the punishments.

The girl prefects weren't so harsh and the worst punishments were to either cut the front lawn with a pair of nail scissors, or empty the swimming pool with a teaspoon!

Entertainment for us boarders was a film on Saturday nights, a free day in town on Saturday mornings, some club activities ... like Bible Study, orienteering, swimming, drama. The Bible Study group was popular because they used to have excursions to other schools and go on picnics.

At the end of each term there was a disco for the whole school, and at the end of the year each House held a House party when we would choose a theme for the night and decorate the commonroom accordingly.

And there was also the annual school play when the drama club would act out the works of Shakespeare or some other literary.

The boys formed a marching band and the girls formed the drum majorettes, and we used to practice marching routines in the afternoons. Then at inter-school games, like football and rugby matches, and athletics we used to parade before the start of the game. And when there was an important function on in town we used to parade through the streets.

Mixing with the boys was only allowed during school hours, break-times, and for an hour in the afternoons, when young courting couples would be seen sat together and cuddling on the playing field.

At night the kitchen staff used to bring round steaming jugs of cocoa, when they would also run a messenger service between the Houses. Many love letters were exchanged in this way. Letters weren't allowed to be sealed by order of the House Master, who was one of the teachers, and so they were folded in a particular way to show that they were "private". But this meant that everyone knew when a boy fancied you and you became much teasing from the other kids.

At meal times we all sat in the main school hall ... girls on one side, boys on the other, with two teaching staff and two prefects sat at a table on the stage.

The other prefects sat at the head of each of the tables with their "deputy" or a friend on one side of them and their skivvy on the other. The youngest or newest member sat at the end and was responsible for fetching the food from the kitchen, and clearing away the dishes. Before, and at the end of each meal, we had to stand and say grace.

Later on they changed the arrangement of the dining room ... boys and girls sitting on alternating tables.

The food wasn't too bad I guess, but it was bad enough for all of us to protest about one day. We all, apart from a few prefects, went on a "hunger strike" ... the Headmaster, Mr. Chambers was furious with us.

He lined us up outside the school in regimental rows and proceeded to bawl at us about how hard the kitchen staff had worked to prepare the meal, how the kitchen matron was in tears, how the food had now been wasted, and that if we wanted better food for the equivalent of R1.00 per day we had better leave our studies and get into the kitchen ourselves! We never complained again!

1968 my first year at St Marks High.

I'm in the second row on the far left.

Girls 1st Row (L-R) : Noreen Beaumont, Riza van Hoff, Denise Littler, F. Dlamini, Desiree Littler, **?**, Ellen ? Girls 2nd Row (L-R) : Lorraine Evans, Lorraine Mitchell, Alyson Nicholas, Sue Bunn, Trixie Schaffner, Caroline Lee, Vivian Green, **?**, **?**, Julie Seago, Isabelle Donaldson, Pauline Beck Boys 1st Row (L-R) : Colin Howe, **?**, Jan Fokker, **?**, Colin Brown?, Willie Long, Geoff Bunn, **?**, Rauol Tossoni, William Dyke, **?**, **?**, Malcolm Scott? Boys 2nd Row (L-R) : Christopher Bradfield, Mike May, **?**, Jon Horstmanshof, David Burrell, **?**, **?**, Stephen ?, Leslie Williams, **?**, Richard Masfen

Not all the pupils who attended the school were boarders. There were some who lived in Mbabane itself. We were allowed to go home on Sundays but those kids who lived far away usually had to stay, unless they were invited out by one of the others.

 

 

My main girl friends in Standard 6 and throughout school were Alyson Nicholas, Caroline Pirie, Julie Seago, and Isabelle Donaldson.

Years ago, I was told that the tall dark haired boy at the back, Christopher Bradfield together with Terry Price, and Richard and Lance Masfen went on to fight in the Rhodesian UDI war but how true this is I cannot say. Chris trained as a policeman but now works for the First Rand Banking Group. Terry Price had originally come from Kenya, his family having left when the Mau Mau uprising began.

Terry used to tell us stories of what some of the Europeans suffered during the "Night of the Long Knives". Apparently, one young boy's hair turned completely white from fright when he witnessed the murder of his parents and brothers.

 

 

My other friends, Kathy George and Lorraine Dash, who I still keep in touch with, Joanna Black and Joy Golesworthy came to the school the following year. Joy Golesworthy returned to Zambia for a while with her husband Stuart Geldenhuys who also went to St. Marks.

Another boy who came to the school the following year was Richard E. Grant the actor, but he left and finished his schooling at Waterford Kamhlaba. We knew him by his real name Richard Grant Esterhuizen.

Films starring Richard E. Grant

Also now in the film industry is Harmon Cusack. At school Harmon and his brother Ian ran the photography club. They took photos at all the school events and developed and printed them. I still have a "Harmon Cusack original" ... The Whistlers, taken at one of the school plays.

After leaving school Harmon and another student from St. Marks, Ian Gillespie, travelled around southern Africa eventually ending up in Rhodesia where Ian joined the army.

Harmon returned home to study pharmacy. Later he was offered a post with Rhodesia Television as programme director. After 7 years opened his own production company.

He has made several commercials and worked on many films, winning quite a few awards. I have seen two of the films he has worked on ... The Ghost and The Darkness  starring Val Kilmer, and King Solomons Mines.

Whilst he was in Rhodesia, Harmon was caught up in the civil war and was drafted into the army. He spent the last 4 years of the war in the Selous Scouts. Harmon is now back in South Africa and has 2 children who are very musical.

Harmon's Films

 

Ian Cusack qualified as a flight engineer with South African Airways, but now works for Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong as their Fleet Technical Officer. 

 

Visit St. Marks High

Visit Willie and Stuart Long's Site :

Izindawo Tours

Izindawo 4x4 Tours Graphic created by Raine

 

For about 17 years after leaving St. Marks school Willie Long worked at Tambankulu Estates, until he was offered a job at Swazi Can at Malkerns. A year or so later he went to work at Farm Chemicals as the agrochemicals sales manager. When Bill Firth retired, Willie became the managing director of the Farm Chemicals Group.

Willie has also travelled around Europe and the United States and when he was still at primary school he used to travel to school by horseback. He is also a ham radio enthusiast.

He and his brother Stuart inherited the farm Kirkhill, a 2500 acre property at Siphocosini in the north western region of Swaziland. It is here that the 4x4 trail begins. The Mdevu Campsite is named after his father with his Swazi name meaning "Moustache".

This is St. Marks taken in about 1940/50.

My mother found the photo lying in a book. When I was there the building on the left and another one like it were still standing. We affectionately called them the 'cowsheds'.

St Marks 1992. The 'cowshed' is STILL standing. But when I was there the property was not fenced.

These two photos are of the dormitory block where I used sleep. My room was the window just beyond the 2nd big tree trunk (to the left of the photo). Whether the fence was put up to keep people out, or the kids in, I don't know.

This is a rock on the mountain across the way from the school, called Cradle Rock. The word Queens was written on it by some school boys who had a race up to the rock. Queens was the name of their team. After that the school used to hold a cross-country race up to the rock every year. In this photo you can just make out Cradle rock.

More photos of Mbabane: This photo I scanned from a book.

It would have been taken from roughly where the Clinic is and looking towards the buildings in Msunduza Road near the post office. If I remember correctly the tall building is either the Central Bank of Swaziland and the Monetary Authority, or the Town Planning Offices. Half way up the mountain on the left is the water tower.

This photo is of the Swazi Plaza, a shopping mall, taken from West Street. The offices where I worked in Mbabane are in this mall to the right just out of camera shot. The big buildings behind are the Government Hospital and the Government Buildings (tax offices, vehicle registration and licencing offices).

I first lived in a small block of flats (apartments) in Gilfillan Street just opposite Smuts Street. Me and Nick then moved to another block on flats in Allister Miller Street opposite The Avenue.

The road to Mbabane from Ezulwini Valley ... Malagwane Hill.

The road is treacherous because of slow moving vehicles, insufficient overtaking places, impatient drivers, blind corners, tight bends, and speeding oncoming traffic. At the top of the hill theres sign that said '600 deaths on this road in 3 years'

Mahamba ... a bus depot and store ... not very interesting but I like the little Church. Lions Head Rock on the way to Malkerns. You can also see the peak in the right hand corner of the picture of Mahamba (above).

Malkerns is a small village centred around the citrus and pineapple farms. Libbys have their canning factory here. We used to come here to the sports club to watch John Golesworthy play cricket. Also at Malkerns is a lovely restaurant and curio shop where I took the kids when we visited in 1992. At the restaurant is a mock Swazi village with traditional huts.

Gareth inside the hut Wooden Giraffe carvings made for the Curio shop

Although most of the Swazi people are now living in western style houses made of either cement brick or mud brick, some Swazis still live in the traditional style huts.

From Malkerns you can see the edge of the Usutu Forest on the mountain side in the distance. The forest of pines was planted in 1949 and covered 50,000 hectares. It is now much larger. The village that serves the pulp mill is called Mhlambanyati which means 'where the buffalos swim'. The pulp mill nestles at the bottom of the mountain range next to the Great Usutu River.

There is another forestry area at Piggs Peak in the north of the country, but this area is more noted for its mining industry.

Iron ore was originally mined in the area but commercially it was unprofitable due to the mountain ranges. The three highest peaks of Swaziland are in this area.

In about 1923 asbestos was found in the Duduzi River. An aerial cableway was built running for 20kms over the mountains to Barberton in South Africa and the entire output of the mine plus all its requires have been carried over the mountains on the cableway.

My friends and I used to sometimes go to Piggs Peak on motorcycles for a drive and days outing.

 

Swaziland owes a lot of its history to the miners and the mining industry

In 1880 two prospectors, Tom McLachlan and Walter Carter negotiated a concession with the Swazi king, Mbandzeni, giving them exclusive rights to prospect the mountains north of the Komati River; and another two prospectors James and David Forbes, obtained rights to the south of the river. They both struck rich and started the Swaziland Concession Rush.

By the time Mbandzeni died in 1889 he had granted over 500 concessions covering practically every activity imaginable, and nearly every hectare of his country. This meant effectively that the Swazi people became a nation of squatters living on private property.

Famous photo of the whites trying their luck at King Mbandzeni's kraal.

They were trying to get concessions for minerals and services. They bought these and access to the King, access to the King was also for sale by his advisors.

When the British government was established in the early 1900s they tried to clear up some of the concessions tangle and by 1907 one third of Swaziland was expropriated from the concessionaires.

When Sobhuza II became king in 1921 he challenged the legality of the concession situation and the rights of his people to more land.

The principal land concession, known as the Unallotted Land Concession, had been carefully drawn up by a shrewd concessionaire named John Thorburn. This secured ownership of all land not already allocated to concessionaires plus all land which became available in the future when existing concessions lapsed. In this way Thorburn planned to eventually own the entire country!

At first Sobhuza's challenges failed, but in 1940 he achieved some success when he petitioned the British Crown and the government bought some land back from the concessionaires and added it to the land already owned by the Swazi people. This gave the Swazis half of their country.

Sobhuza then organised a national fund to raise money and the Swazi people contributed to the fund so that they could buy back land from the concessionaires. The fund benefited from an injection of capital granted by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act from Britain and after World War II Swaziland sprang into an era of economic development.

The country gained full independence from the British government in 1968.

King Sobhuza II

 

Geographically Swaziland is divided into 4 regions (Highveld, Middleveld, Lowveld, and Lubombo)

The term 'veld' is an Afrikaans word meaning 'grassland' and originated from the Dutch word meaning 'field'. Typically it denotes an area of a particular feature, and not necessarily swathes of open tree-less landscapes. There will be trees, some in thickets, and some dotted about. But typically, veld is not jungle-like.

Lowveld can be densely packed with acacia thorn trees in which case it is termed 'bushveld'.

Photo showing Highveld (photo courtesy of Izindawo 4x4 Tours) Photo showing Middleveld Photo showing Bushveld

The photo of Shaun at Mkaya with the ranger shows how thick the bushveld can be.

Nhlangano which means 'meeting place' was named after the visit of King George VI of England in 1947 and his wife Elizabeth and their two daughters, Elizabeth (now Queen of England) and Margaret when they met King Sobhuza II. Before this, the town was called Goedgegun.

We sometimes used to take drives up to Nhlangano as the scenery in The Grand Valley is spectacular.

The road was tarred in the early 1980s by McAlpines who, instead of taking the tried and trusted 'straight-road' approach as is normal in Africa, built the road round the sweeping curves of the mountain foothills, cambering the bridges where they crossed rivers.

To get to the South African coastal town of Durban, you have to drive through Big Bend.This is the area of the sugar plantations, and the main sugar refinery. My friend Joy (Golesworthy) lived here when she got married.

In the early 1980s the river flooded due to Cyclone Demona, rising up to the roofs of the houses near the banks. The recently built new bridge was washed away with the force of the water and the huge pillars which supported the bridge bobbed up and down in the torrents like toy building blocks. This same storm caused damage to the bridges on the Nhlangano road and in places the road was washed away.

Ubombo Ranches sugar plantation.

The hills in the background are the Lubombo Mountains, across which lies Mozambique and further down, Natal in South Africa.

View from Joy's house. J

ust off the road to Mozambique are the towns of Tshaneni which means 'small stone', Mhlume, Tambankulu, and Simunye where colonial farmers had their big farming estates.

The areas are still noted for large scale farming. Citrus, mangoes, peaches, lychees and other deciduous fruits are grown, as well as sugar; and cattle is ranched.

Close to these towns are the Sand River Dam which is used for yatching and windsurfing; and Mjoli Dam, where we used to come camping; and Hlane National Park.

In the Lubombo Mountains early Stone Age tools have been found and on the Mlawula Nature Reserve are the rare species of cycads.

A common site in Swaziland is grass burning. Every year towards the end of winter controlled fires were lit, and the grassland was allowed to burn. This used to encourage new growth. When I was at school the mountain was often ablaze with fire. These two photos were taken at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

Some of my friends in Swaziland :

 

Roly Hellet (Swazi National).

Roly's family were farmers in Swaziland, living in Sidvokdvo. Roly took over the farm for a while until it was sold on the death of his parents. Roly was always 'mad cap' ... he always crashed his car on the road back home. He once fell asleep one night at the traffic lights in Mbabane for two hours, fortunately at the time the roads werent busy. When I visited in 1992, Roly owned at shop at Matsapa, just outside Manzini, selling groceries. In the early 1980s Roly had a motorcycle accident and was nearly left for dead, but for the foresight of a young Swazi trainee nurse who used a mirror to check his breathing. The accident left him with a crushed pelvis and internal damage.

Carlos Paiva (Puvy) (Swazi National) and Mondinue da Sousa (Mondi) (Swazi National) ... this photo was taken at the Swaziland Bike Rally.

Puvy was a good friend from school days and was always very supportive. As a kid he used to spend a lot of time at the motorcycle shop where my dad hung out. My dad encouraged his interest in motorcycles. Puvy eventually set up his own motorcycle business. He organised the Swaziland Bike Rally.

Puvy married a Portuguese girl, Sonia de Sousa (Mozam-Portuguese) (right)(no relation to Mondi). Sonia was not at the Rally because she was in hospital in Johannesburg. She had just had a baby (their third) and the baby was undergoing treatment for a birth defect of his intestines.

Mondi ran a car repair workshop with his elder brother. Mondi married a girl called Virginia who is on the left just out of camera shot. Mondi and Puvy were best friends.

The blonde haired guy on the right is Mike Burrell (Anglo-South African) who we also went to school with. Mikes father worked at Usutu Pulp Mill and the family lived at Mhlambayati, but they moved to South Africa in the late 1970s. (I don't know who the other guy is).

In this photo Puvy is looking at Mike Burrell's bike which he made from an old bath tub.

The girl next to Puvy is Virginia (South African), Mondi's wife.

The dark haired chap with the moustache is Paul, one of the van der Vijl brothers (South African) whose father ran the Manzini Arms Hotel in Manzini. There were 5 brothers in all and they went everywhere together. When they went to the cinema all 5 brothers used to sit in a row ... eldest to the youngest.

The Golesworthys

John Golesworthy (British) worked at the Town Council and then for Swaziland Milling. Pat (British) was a teacher at Sidney Williams Primary School. They are now retired and the last I heard they were living in Cape Town.

Joy (Golesworthy) (Anglo-South African) is married to Stuart Geldenhuys (South African). Joy was a teacher at Big Bend Primary School and Stuart worked for Ubombo Ranches. They have two kids.

Peter Golesworthy (Anglo-South African) is married to Annalise (South African) and they have two kids (I think). Peter is a Chartered Accountant and they live in Stellenbosch, in the Cape.

Jane (Golesworthy) (Anglo-Rhodesian) is married to Allan Hardy (South African). Jane is a Physiotherapist and I cant remember what Allan did. They have two kids and live in Newcastle, in Natal.

Liz (Golesworthy) (Anglo-Rhodesian) is married to Sacha Halm (German) and they have two kids. Liz and Sacha run a bakery in Köln, Germany.

Paul Golesworthy(Anglo-Rhodesian) is married to Cornell (South African) and has one child. Paul works for Shell. In 1992 they lived in Amamzimtoti near Durban. The last I heard they moved out to Beijing, China.

My parents met the Golesworthys in Northern Rhodesia in 1958 and were friends with them until my parents died. My father in 1983 and my mother in 1991. The Golesworthys moved to Swaziland the year before us. Our two families were close and they came on holidays with us.

Freddie & Avil du Preez

Freddie (Swazi National) is Nick's brother. They have two children who are now in their early 20s. Freddie has his own business in the computer industry and Avril (South African) worked as a secretary. They still live in Manzini.

Phyllis Nunn

Mrs Nunn (Swazi National) adopted Nick and Freddie when Nick was 2 years old. She already had 4 of her own. She ran a farm in Nhlangano with her husband, who died when he was 35. Mrs Nunn ran the farm on her own for a while and then took a job at the local store and did dressmaking for a living. Mrs Nunn is now deceased.

Jean (da Silva) and Doreen (Nunn)

Jean (left) (Swazi National) is Mrs Nunn's eldest. She married Carlos (Mozam-Portuguese) who worked as a mechanic at the sugar plantation in Mhlume. They have 3 kids (Alberto, Claudio (left) and Lucianna). They all now live in Portugal. Doreen (Swazi National) (next to Jean) is Mrs Nunn's 3rd child.

Doreen is unmarried and worked in accounts. She still lives in Swaziland.

Peter Nunn and Freda

Peter (Swazi National) is Mrs Nunn's 2nd child. Peter has his own building firm, and built his own house. Freda (South African) is a dressmaker. They have 2 kids Arlene (in yellow) and Lee (on the end). The little boy is Arlene's son. They still live in Swaziland.

Joyce (da Silva)

Joyce (Swazi National) was Mrs. Nunn's 4th child. Joyce married Fernando (Mozam-Portuguese) and had two children. They now live in Portugal.

Caroline (Pirie)

Caroline (British) was a friend from school. Her father was a doctor in Tshaneni. Caroline now lives in Scotland and is also a doctor.

Alyson (Nicholas)

Alyson (British) was a friend from school. Her father was a teacher at the Teacher Training College in Manzini. After school Alyson trained with Caroline Pirie in Edinburgh, Scotland. She now lives in Kent, England and is a senior lecturer in mental heath at APU, the university in Chelmsford, Essex.

Julie and Penny (Seago)

Julie (with glasses) (British) was a friend from school. Julie moved to England. Penny married a guy from school and they lived in Swaziland.

Joanne (Black)

Joanne (British) was a friend from school. Her father worked for Usutu Pulp Company and they lived in Mhlambanyati. Joanne moved to Rhodesia when her father got a teachers training post there.

Bruce Warren (Pointer)

Bruce used to go steady with Joanna. After school he went to serve an apprenticeship at the central engineering works of Courtaulds in Coventry. He lived in the small village of Rugby whilst he was training and one evening out-of-the-blue in walked another student from St. Marks, Gil Forte. Gil was on a tour of Europe. Bruce stayed on in England for a few years and then moved back to South Africa. He now lives in Johannesburg, likes riding motor-cycles, and has 2 kids.

Kathy (George) and Mary

Kathy (British) was a friend from school. Her father worked on the satellite tracking station. Kathy is married to Tim Gould and they have 3 kids. Kathy is a Dermatologist and her husband Tim works for Rank Xerox. They now live in Buckinghamshire, England. Kathy's parents, Chas and Marjory (British), were very good friends of my parents. Chas still fondly remembers the great debates he used to have with my father.

Mike and Debbie Shaw, and Don Schoeman

Mike (with guitar) and Debbie are brother and sister (Anglo-Rhodesian). There were 3 other kids ... Bryan, Penny, and an older sister. Mike's father was a vet. Mike worked for Swaziland United Transport in Matsapa. Mike is married with kids. All the family live in South Africa I think.

Don Schoeman (South African).

His father ran the tyre re-tread business called Hi Ho and his mother worked in accounts at Swaziland United Transport. They werent in Swaziland long. I think he lives in South Africa now.

Adrian and Shaun Firth (girls) Adrian (left) and Shaun (reclining) (South African).

Their father ran Swaziland Milling Company. There were two other sisters - Ingrid and Janine. I think they all live in South Africa now.

Mike Morrell, Barbara Horn, Colleen Ferguson

Mike (British) first worked for Shell Chemicals and then became a ranger at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. He lives in England somewhere with his wife and kids.

Barbara (South African) was married to Bernard (South African) who owned a motorcycle shop called Horns Motors. I think they live in South Africa now.

Colleen (Anglo-South African) had three younger brothers. Her father ran the Datsun Nissan motor dealership, called Tracar. I think she now lives in South Africa.

Jackie (Brown) and Billy Kockett

Jackie's father (British) worked at the satellite tracking station. They werent in Swaziland long. I think Jackie now lives in England. Billy (Swazi National) was a friend from school.

Billy Kockett's father worked at Tambankulu Estates in Mhlume. I don't know where he lives now. Claude Kockott in front of a day's work in setting up Tambankulu Estates.

Game was shot to make way for cattle ranching in the 1950's. Kockott was instrumental in setting up an Nature Reserve on the same land 30 years later when attitudes had changed. 1950's  Source: National Archives 

Charmaine and Mike Whittaker

Charmaine and Mike (South African) weren't in Swaziland long. Mike was a mechanic. They had two kids. They probably live in South Africa now.

Kenny and Sidney Lue

Kenny and Sidney's father ran a store at Sidvokodvo. Kenny (Swazi National) first worked in the curio industry, buying locally made baskets, mats, and ornaments and distributing them to various shops. He then worked for Puvy at Carson Motors. When I knew Kennie he was going out with a South African girl called Breezy (Charlotte). They had a child together called Khanya. Breezy returned to South Africa.

Sidney (Swazi National) worked as a mechanic.

Sam (Salim) Monsoor

Sam and his brother (Indo-South African) worked for their father who was a business man and owned three stores in Swaziland. Sam married a girl from South Africa but she died from cancer shortly after.

Rogere (Roger) and Margaret

Roger and Margaret (Mozambicano) were from Mozambique who came across when the war broke out. They werent in Swaziland long. But whether they went back to Mozambique or moved to South Africa I don't know.

There were other friends that I knew, but didn't socialise much with. Anna Real (Portuguese), Amerigo villa Poca (Portuguese), Dorf and Francis Munroe (Portuguese), Paul Vingas (Greek), Clive Clifford (South African), Colin Howe (British), Mark Taylor (British), Lynne Siebert (South African), Nora O'Hagan-Ward (Irish-Italian).

People came and went. Some stayed only for a few months. Some kids went to schools in South Africa and you would only see them during the holidays.

 

 

History of Swaziland

 

Swaziland's history in brief starts off with the Bantu peoples migrating down the east coast of Africa in about 1750. They called themselves the Nguni, and were led by a chief called Dlamini.

As they travelled they became fragmented. One of the groups under the leadership of Ngwane III found its way into the area of Swaziland and they settled in the hills overlooking the Pongola River. After Ngwane died, they called themselves the Ngwane tribe.

Ngwane's grandson, Sobhuza (the 1st) took over and began to build his nation. The only 'opposition' to his tribe were the few Khoikhoi (Hottentot) and San (Bushmen) who lived in the lowveld, and a few fragmentary groups of tribes living in the area of the Usutu River who spoke a different language to the Ngwane tribe, which the Ngwane called "Suthu".

However, other nations like the Zulu, Pondos and Xhosas were also building their nations at the time and the Ngwane tribe was frequently attacked by the Zulus who lived in the south, in the area known as Natal. At one time Sobhuza had to beg support from the Portuguese traders from Delagoa Bay (Lourenco Marques/Maputo).

Sobhuza moved north to escape the Zulu threat and established headquarters at Hlatikulu and Ezulwini. Those who went with Sobhuza to Ezulwini were known as 'Pure Swazi'.

Sotho, Tsonga and Nguni chiefdoms in the north and west were absorbed into the Swazi nation. The Kingdom stretched as far as the Sabie River and Steenkampsberg.

Sobhuza advised his people not to harm the white-people, to accept the Bible, but to refuse money - as he believed this would corrupt.

Sobhuza's successor was his son Mswati who became chief in 1836. As Mswati was a minor when Sobhuza died, his mother Thandile ruled as Queen Regent.

Thandile created the Age Regiments that formed a military framework from the network of Royal villages.

And it was during this period that the Incwala Ceremony began as a way to re-affirm and consolidate the central power of the king and gain the cohesive support of the people.

Around the time of Mswati's reign, the first European missionaries and traders were making their way into the country.

They called the country Swaziland, after the leader Mswati.

Mswati formed strong diplomatic links with the Boers and the British as political allies against the Zulus. Mswati's capital was at Hhohho in the area north of the Komati River and the area between the Pongola River, the Crocodile River, and the Limpopo Rivers formed part of his domain.

In 1863 the Swazi's attacked the small garrison of Portuguese soliders at Lourenco Marques (Delagoa Bay) and the Swazis became the dominant power in the area for 15 years.

Mswati died in 1868 and was succeeded by his son Ludvonga.

His capital was in the Mdimba Mountains in the northern lowveld as the mountains had provided refuge to the tribe during the frequent Zulu raids. Ludvonga's reign was a time of peace as the Dutch Voortrekkers had broken the power of the Zulus. Ludvonga's reign was short and he was succeeded by Mbandzeni.

During this time the Boers wished to expand to the sea to compete with the British, and overtures were made to secure the route through Swaziland to Kosi Bay. Although these were unsuccessful, Swaziland became a pawn between the British and the Boers, and Mbanzeni tried to settle the dispute by granting grazing, mining and trade concessions. This however, lead to the Concession Rush and Mbandzeni lost territorial independence of the Nation.

The Boers sought minerals, the route to the sea and pasture land, and the British drew political maps which lost a large area of Swaziland, and until 1894 the Kingdom was ruled by a provisional government of Boer, British, and Swazi.

Swaziland became a protected dependency of the South African Republic until the confrontation of the two powers in the Anglo Boer War.

Then in 1902 Swaziland was placed under British rule until 1968 when the Nation became independent.

Mbandzeni died in 1889 and his grandson, Sobhuza II, began his reign, until 1982.

Throughout his long reign Sobhuza devoted himself to regaining the land of the Kingdom. He re-purchased land from the concessionaires, and by 1968 half of the land conceded had been restored.

The area occupied by the whole Nguni tribe originally stretched from Delgoa Bay in Maputoland (near Lourenco Marques) in the east, to the Limpopo River which separates Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Negotiations are still continuing to restore the areas of Kangwane (the area in the Transvaal) and Ingwavume (the area around Kosi Bay) to Swaziland as they were once part of the kingdom.

Kosi Bay

Following the death of King Sobhuza II, the Queen Regent, Dzeliwe assumed power until her son, Prince Makhosetive (King Mswati III) became of age.

During this period there was unrest, both within the government and in South Africa.

In Swaziland there was a jockeying for power and political conflicts broke out between the Supreme Council of State (the Liqoqo) and the Prime Minister.

In South Africa, the African National Congress (the ANC) were trying to gain independence from the white domination of the Boers, and used Swaziland as a 'springboard' for their attacks on that country.

The authorities in Swaziland tried to put a stop to this by confiscating arms and ammunition the ANC hid in the territory, and quashing any forms of unrest.

(Sources : Swaziland Jumbo Tourist Guide by Hazel Hussey; and The Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa by Reader's Digest ISBN 0 620 03181 6)

 

 

I now take up the story from a personal account :

I was brought up abroad in a multi-racial, multi-national, and multi-lingual society; and have travelled extensively in Africa: Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland.

I have also been to places on the European continent: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Yugoslavia.

I have mixed with people from many parts of the world ... from many different backgrounds ... from many different cultures ... and from many different religions.

I have had friends who were Catholic, Methodist, Muslim, Jewish, Anglican, tribal ... who were Scottish, Portuguese, Swazi, South African, Sri Lanka, Malay, English, American, Australian, Welsh ... who were brown, white, black, coloured ...

We all got on together, we all worked together, went to school together, and had fun together. We all respected each others religions, cultures, and religious beliefs. We all took part in some of each others ceremonies.

When I went to stay with an Afrikaans family for a few weeks to learn the language, I sat in a Dutch Reformed Church for two whole Sundays while the minister droned on in a language I couldn't understand ... High Dutch.

I helped out occasionally at the Catholic Church polishing their brasses and dusting their statues. I sang hymns in the Anglican Church.

I annually attended the Swazi Incwala Ceremony as a spectator. I wore the black headband and grass belt as a mark of respect for the death of their King. My white and coloured friends shaved their heads also as a mark of respect.

We fasted occasionally during Ramadam. We didn't serve pork to the guy who was Muslim ... but he still sat at our table and shared our meal, and we sat at his table and shared his.

We ate Portuguese food, Chinese food, Indian food, food that had been declared 'Kosher', food that had been declared 'Hallal' ... we sat on the ground with the native-people and ate putu and kapenta with our hands, and tasted their traditional beer ...

Then it all began to change ...

We witnessed the plight of the Portuguese when Mozambique was being taken over.

We listened in horror as a black girl from there told us tales of how poverty-stricken the war had left them that she was reduced to coming over the border to prostitute for a meagre amount of money so she could feed her kids.

One of my white friends took her in so she didn't have to do this and gave her a job as his nurse and housekeeper.

Another of my white friends who worked in the computer industry went to service some machines in Mozambique and was captured, and despite having a visa and the appropriate papers, was held in a Mozambique jail and tortured because he had a South African accent and passport. The authorities there thought he was a spy. It took 3 months of negotiations from his employer to get him out.

In our country we saw how the university students who protested at some government policy were thrown into jail on 60 days detention no trial! The word 'subversion' was muttered.

We saw how the apartheid (segregation) system affected society in South Africa.

As a laugh and a form of 'protest' we went there with some coloured friends and sat in our car outside a burger bar with the South African police watching us knowing they couldn't do anything about anything because we had foreign registration plates and in our country we were allowed to mix.

We saw how protests against injustices lead to people being thrown into jail and understood that governments also didn't want situations to develop that would lead to uprisings or factions amongst the people.

We went through countless arms and ammunition checks at road-blocks as the government tried to stop the 'freedom fighters' from using our country as a springboard for their attacks on the apartheid regime. Everyone was searched! It became routine.

You could be 'under suspicion' if you were seen talking to one of 'these guys' or knew him. The thing is you never knew who 'either side' were. They kept their activities hidden from you and they came from all walks of life ... waiters in restaurants could be informants on both sides, servants, even your neighbour.

Protesting your political innocence and non-active stance was useless. You learnt to become an upright and upstanding citizen ... keeping your head down and saying nothing. I was even told once 'not to be white-person and to think as a black-person'!

A coloured friend from school became a sympathiser helping the black-people in South Africa organise their protests. When he came back to Swaziland for visits he was closely watched by the authorities, and we were warned to stay away from him in case we were linked with the political uprising and associated terrorist activities.

We heard of the raids the government carried out uncovering caches of Russian made weapons and confiscating them. This was a land-locked country who couldn't afford to fall out with anyone!

Ravaged by the war on the one side, trade routes through there had virtually ceased. And being fronted on the other side by a potential uprising ... protesting would mean economical collapse for them if borders were forced to close.

We began to see how people who supported or spoke out got 24 hour deportations, and detention sentences seemed to become common place.

Work permits and residency permits began to be revoked ... you were lucky if they continued to renew them for a further two years.

About 5 years previously the Government had also tightened up its immigration policies as I think it did not want to be confronted with an influx of political refugees from either South Africa or Mozambique.

Therefore regulations were introduced on non-Swazi and expatriate peoples and many jobs had now to be taken over by the Swazi peoples themselves.

All non-managerial staff had to train a Swazi person to do their job, and commercial enterprises were required to employ Swazi peoples wherever possible. Many people left.

When my residence permit came up for renewal several years later, for some reason it was granted for only one year ... with the proviso that I did not take up employment.

The Police came to me at work one day and said I was to go to the Immigration Department but they didn't understand why as I had no criminal record and I wasn't under suspicion, but they had 'orders'.

The man at the Department sympathised and said that he also could not understand why my permit had been renewed only for one year with the unemployment condition, but the order had come from higher up and he had to honour it.

But the fact that he had been allowed to grant the permit for a year was the Government's indication that they considered me to be an upright citizen and held me in respect, and that they were not deporting me or 'forcing' me to leave the country.

And the reason why I had been required to attend an interview at the Department was so that he could convey his Government's amicable intentions towards me.

I knew where his "order" had come from ... if one had relatives in high places you could easily exact favours from them ... suffice to say that - one woman was after my husband ... one of her uncles worked in the Immigration Department ...

Without the ability to work, a person would starve without money - there was no social security system or jobseekers allowance in Swaziland - I had no choice but to leave.

I debated on whether to go to South Africa ... work was readily available and there was no problems with residency, but my friends warned me 'be careful you have a British passport ... look what happened to the Portuguese ...'

The prospect of going to Europe daunted me. Back in the 1970's people from southern Africa were damned because of the policies of South Africa's apartheid system.

No one knew where my small country was and as soon as you started to explain its location in the world people shunned you no matter how you felt about things - they weren't prepared to listen ... you had said the 'magic' words 'southern Africa'!

But this was now the 1980's and people from Britain said that attitudes had changed in Europe, so I went back there. And became a 'foreigner' amongst my own people.

I encountered not many problems, but as a safe-guard I changed my accent and adopted words and ways that they used to describe things.

And I was amazed at the freedom these people had to talk over 'Maggi', the government and the Monarchy, and make fun and jokes about them ... where I had come from you just didn't!

And you gave respect to the King

... BAYETTE ...!!!

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