King Mswati III
King Mswati III of Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarch is a leading champion of this practice. Born in 1968, King Mswati III was crowned in 1986 at the young age of 18, replacing his long-serving father King Sobhuza II, who died at the age of 82. At the annual “Reed Dance Festival” the King has the option of choosing for himself a new wife from among the thousands of bare breasted maidens present.
The Young Virgins
During the “UMHLANGA (reed dance) FESTIVAL” Tens of thousands of virgin, bare breasted maidens danced for Swaziland’s King Mswati III in a traditional dance at Ludzidzini palace outside the capital Mbabane. Most of these young bare breasted maidens hopes to get the attention of the King and becomes his new bride. At last count the King has at least 13wives. According to Swazi tradition, the King is always ment to have a bride in waiting. He can only marry her when she is prgenant. His own late father, King Sobhuza 11 who led the country to Independence from Great Britain had at least 70 wives
The King, His Country, And Life Style
Regardless of whether we agree or not about the young maidens, polygamy and an absolute monarchy, it is hard not to appreciate what Swaziland has to offer tourist as a country. The Mountainous sights, the friendly people and food. But unfortunately The Reed Dance Festival and polygamy in the face of the high rates of HIV/AIDS, and the Kings rather lavish lifestyle is serious cause for concern. In the small country where there is huge poverty, the King spends $millions to celebrate his 40th birthday. He also spends millions on super luxury vehicles and has some of the best cars on his collections. He also lavish his wives with gifts of cars amongst other things. It is the dream of most young girls to be the wife of King Mswati, this means they will move into the palace and their every needs attended to. The issue of polygamy doesnt bother them, who could blame them when the avegare inhabitant lives on less than $1 a day?
The kingdom of Swaziland is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies in the world with the following profile:
- Population: 1.1 million (UN, 2005)
- Capital: Mbabane
- Area: 17,364 sq km (6,704 sq miles)
- Major languages: Swazi, English (both official)
- Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs
- Life expectancy: 32 years (men), 33 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 Lilangeni = 100 cents
- Main exports: Sugar, wood pulp, minerals
- GNI per capita: US $1,350 (World Bank, 2005