Swaziland Travel Guide

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Stick & Mud Houses

Stick & Mud Houses

S. Docherty

Swaziland is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is almost completely surrounded by South Africa but it also borders on Mozambique. Most people visiting Swaziland will come from Johannesburg only about 400 km from Mbabane the capital of Swaziland and connected by good roads.

The major attraction of the country is its well preserved culture. From the ritual smearing of the bride with red ochre in the traditional marriage ceremony to the mystical rite of Kingship, the Incwala, each ritual is deeply significant and is performed only at the appropriate time and place. The centuries- old ceremonies are as valid today as they were in days of Ngwane, the first King of Swaziland and this balance of ancient and modern, traditional and western gives Swaziland and her people their distinctive character.

Urban Swazi's in spite of a very 20th century lifestyle still maintain firm links to the rural areas where water is fetched from the river and cooking takes place in a three-legged pot over an open fire. When duty calls, there is no contradiction for the majority of Swazi's in leaving an air-conditioned office in town and shedding a three-piece business suit in favour of the traditional cloths and skins of emahiya and to take their place with the regiments to perform the task or ceremony for which the nation has been summoned. Watching the regiments wearing the traditional dress of their great-grand-fathers, singing the songs of their ancestors and performing the ancient ritual dances, only the glimpse of a wristwatch here or a flashlight there will remind you that this is not the Swaziland of a hundred or two hundred years ago. Remember that no man will gain the respect of a Swazi unless he is married. In Swazi culture, if you are single, you have no experience!

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