06 March 2007

The Kingdom... & an old king...

[A Mbabane billboard- Swaziland has a major Aids problem]
Swaziland. The Kingdom! It’s a tiny, landlocked country, right here on our doorsteps. It takes just a few hours to travel the 371km there, maybe a bit more if you detour to avoid the heavy tolls.

I keep asking why we allowed this country to exist. Should we have not annexed it, together with Lesotho and Botswana? But apparently, these countries were under the British mandate after the Anglo-Boer war. And Swaziland now wants THEIR land back- huh, chance of that ever happening!

It’s is easy to see how they were able to maintain independence- as you approach the border you see the rolling hills and then towering mountains. Probably wasn’t very easy for those buffalo led Boer regiments to get into these areas- explains Lesotho as well.

And the border is the most relaxed you will ever find. How many people would be trying to get into Swaziland illegally! Apparently Pakistani nationals- the border police grills my travel companion in Afrikaans, having mistaken his Hajj visas for some Indian stamps. He replies in near flawless Afrikaans and goes on to grill him a bit in Afrikaans- its clear who speaks the language fluently!

A permit for the braai meat we bought? Why would we have that! ‘Thanks. You will let us through this time.’ The polite and courteous manner of Swazis is immediately noticeable. A few more stamps in my well stamped passport and our weekend of adventure begins!

A weekend of hiking, waterfalls, scenic drives and lotsa good food it turned out to be. White water rafting would have been a splendid bonus to the experience, but a whole day is needed, so that postponed till our next trip.

A visit to the school I heard about my whole life- the view my Mum had and the hill she used to climb. Where the kids of Mandela and the other comrades also schooled. The canteen that served all types of food and the windows they climbed through when misbehaving! The field on which they played sport and the pool she learned to swim so she could teach us all these years later. Took some pictures- lets see if she recognizes much now, almost 30 years later!

For a weekend in another country, it was a great experience. Will definitely make the journey again sometime soon- even if it’s just for the white water rafting in croc invested waters that is so raved about!


Had the opportunity to share the Palestine Jumah with those in Tshwane- at Tuks!
Worked there last week and surprisingly was able to leave quite early and avoid the traffic:)

Also attended a talk by Former State President Mr FW de Klerk about The State of Governance in Africa- I must say, I never gave him much credit before, but after hearing him speak, he is quite a sensible oke. Probably how he was involved in plans to end Apartheid and bring about peaceful transition- a Nobel for his efforts as well!
My celeb for the week:)


fida said...

celeb of the week???


Bilal said...

the pic is up- FW De Klerk!

fida said...



Ali la Loca said...

Oh, you have no idea how much I want to visit Swaziland. After all, it is right on our doorstep here in Maputo.

In addition to Pakistanis, the Swazis are apparently also on the lookout for the Brazilians. Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that actually needs a prior-arranged visa to get in the country, not just a border visa. Since Rico is Brazilian, we still haven't visited...

White water rafting sounds so tempting!

Zak P said...

Annex botswana!!! hang on buddy!!! i live here....but actually it may not be a bad idea...i can probably do my com serve if we have one united land. do your magic in the political arena.

queen_Lestat said...

lol since I wasn't there... Welcome to Tuks :) (there's not much sign of polite life there I can almost guarantee).

Aaaah yes FW...one of the more intelligent leaders we've had. And there sits Vice Chancellor/Chancellor C. Pistorius looking just like he always does, asleep :P

bibi-aisha said...

Havnt been to swazi for years.keep tellin my family lets go,but then ppl tel the parents its not worth goin anymor.but nw uv tempted me! Ali,im comin to mozambique in may-xai xai.cnt wait!

Anonymous said...

love and fresh air.. thats great , would love to go to swaziland...

Bilal said...

Watsup! FW not celeb enough for you:P

It is a beautiful country, but very similar to South Africa, which is also on your doorstep:)
I'm sure you guys can come here without visas!

Dude, lets start a revolution!
One united African state- starting here! And what better time to start than the 50 year anniversary of Ghana. Kwame Nkruma would be proud.

Thanks, better late than never:P
FW is quite sharp- pity he doesn't get more coverage!
& all VC are the same...

Make a trip there- its worth it!
Ooh Moz- I'm jealous. But think we doing a diving trip there sometime soon:)

@love and fresh air:
Swaziland has lots of love and fresh air:)

ilham said...

Y does everything hav 2 b jus so political?

Ali la Loca said...

We have visited SA several times and had wonderful experiences on each occasion. And yes - no complicated visas required. :)

Bibi-Aisha - be sure to let me know when you are passing through Moz. I can give you some tips if you want. :)

taqdeer said...

Swaziland has a lot of beauty indeed :)

Very nice blog :)

fida said...

@bilal ?: so whose the next celebrity ? M A N T O !!!!


Nazreen said...


Bilal said...

Cool. There is still lots more to see and do in SA:)

Yup. I was impressed.
Thanks for stopping by!

I hear she is not too well at the moment...
But will keep you in the loop- met quite a few celebs this week but no pics: shabir banoobhai, riaad moosa, etc:)


Dew said...

Lovely post...I wonder if you had time to dig a bit of Earth for me? I'm not crossing my fingers though;)

fida said...

@bilal : ah! so you attended the book launch : what do you think of shabbir's book?

Bilal said...

Oops. Totally forgot you collect stuff- what was it again? Will remember for my next trip:)

Yup. The launch was cool. Bought the book- will let you know once i start...

fida said...

@bilal : am waiting . . .