Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)



Capital : Mbabane

Size: 6700 sq m Popn: 792 000


Landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique, this Commonwealth country is called Kangwane in the Swazi language. The Bantu Ngwane people were welded into the Swazi nation by members of the powerful Dlamini clan, Sobhuza I (died 1839) and Mswati I (ruled 1839-68). The Boers and British ruled jointly from 1894-1902 before Swaziland became a British Protectorate from 1902-1968 and a High Commission Territory. When it joined South Africa in a customs union in 1910, it was expected to become part of that country but Swazi opposition and apartheid prevented this. The country was dominated by white settlers who owned over 60% of the land by 1907. Some has been bought back but the best still belongs to European settlers and non-residents.

The SPP, formed in 1960, split in 1961 and the radicals formed NNLC in 1963. The 1964 election was so heavily weighted in favour of the royalist Imbokodvo National movement that it won every seat despite substantial support for NNLC in urban areas. In 1968, Swaziland became independent as a constitutional monarchy under Sobhuza II who had considerable powers. Despite everything, the NNLC managed to win a constituency in 1972 but the king abrogated the constitution, dismissed parliament, banned political parties, ruled by royal decree and began to train and arm an army with South African backing. The 1979 parliament was substantially chosen by the king whose government was increasingly repressive and Dr. Ambrose Phesheya Zwane escaped from detention to form the SLM in 1978.

Sobhuza II died in 1982 and one of his fifty widows, Princess Dzeliwe, became Queen Regent supported by the Liqoqo or Supreme State Council who chose fourteen-year-old Prince Makhosetive to succeed his father. They were opposed by Prince Mabandla Dlamini who was supported by the Queen Regent in his campaign for reforms. South Africa had offered to cede the former Swazi territory, the Kangwane Homeland and part of Kwazulu to Swaziland in return for citizenship for those living there and the ending of ANC sanctuary but strong opposition prevented this. Liqoqo forced the Queen Regent to replace Mabandla with Prince Bhekimpi Dlamini in 1983 and she was dismissed in favour of Princess Ntombi, mother of Prince Makhosetive, later that year.

Swaziland became closer to South Africa, expelling the banned ANC. Prince Makhosetive was formally crowned as King Mswati III in 1986 and firmly imposed his power, dissolving the Liqoqo, arresting Prince Mfanasibili Dlamini for attempting to undermine the monarchy and dismissing his Prime Minister, Prince Bhekimpi. A new government was elected with Sotsha Dlamini as prime minister but there were complaints about its treatment of the trade unions and King Mswati created an indaba or popular parliament, in 1990. Democratic reforms continued to be called for.

The Swazi and Zulu ethnic groups have Siswati and English as official languages and follow Christianity and traditional beliefs.

Swazi Names


Bhekimpi Elphus Mabandla Makhosetive Mfanasibili Mswati
Phesheya Sishayi Sobhuza Sotcha    


Dzeliwe Latfwala Ntombi Thwala    


Dlamini Ginindza Ngwane Nxumalo Sobuza Tumbumuzi

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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