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CULTURAL RESOURCES: Swazi History - Modern Times

In 1902, a victorious Britain declared Swaziland as "protectorate" (colony) under a Resident Commissioner, reporting to a High Commissioner in Pretoria. The British applied their usual policy of indirect rule, leaving the monarchy and chieftaincy basically intact. The British listed the chiefs and their "indunas" (lieutenants) in order to tax all adult males. Migrant labour had had a late start in Swaziland, in the 1890s, now it increased as men needed to pay tax.

In 1907, the British partitioned the land giving two thirds to white sellers and one third to the Swazis under their chiefs. Sobhuza's grandmother, the Queen Regent Labotsibefli, was a formidable opponent of the British rulers. She sent Sobhuza to Lovedale School in the Cape.

Sobhuza was installed in 1921. To the British he was "Paramount Chief while to the Swazis he was king. In effect he was the head of the Swazi Nation for 47 years prior to independence.

(For more detailed information on Sobhuza - see History of King Sobhuza II.)

In 1923 Sobhuza went to England to challenge the land partition but lost the case.

In 1941, the British requested help for the war effort, and Sobhuza approved the joining up of about 4,000 Swazi men who served in North Africa and Italy.

After World War II, the economy was boosted, mostly by the first pine and sugar plantations.

In the early 1960s, as other African colonies regained their independence, Britain encouraged the formation of political parties. Sobhuza formed the "imbokodvo" ("grindstone") National Movement. The movement won all the seats in the first elections in 1967.

Swaziland regained its independence on 6 September 1968. It was the only state in Africa ruled by the natural successors of the leadership of pre-colonial times.

In the second elections in 1973, the rival "Congress" party won three of the 18 seats. Sobhuza-in- Council then dissolved Parliament, repealed the Constitution and ruled by decree until 1978, when elections were held under the "Tinkhundla" (constituency) system. King Sobhuza II then ruled as Africa's executive monarch until his death in 1982.

A supreme council of state ("Liqoqo") ruled the country for four years, while the Crown Prince, Makhosetive, finished high school in England. (Sherborne School, Dorset). Makhosetive became King Mswati III in 1986.

Site Map
Reference Material
SNTC Headquarters: Parliament Road. P O Box 100, Lobamba, Swaziland. Tel: (+268) 2416 1516, 2416 1489, 2416 1179. Fax: (+268) 2416 1875, 2416 1480. Email: info@sntc.org.sz
National Museum:
Tel: (+268) 2416 1179, 2416 1875
Fax: 2416 1875
Email: curator@sntc.org.sz
King Sobhuza II Memorial Park:
Tel: (+268) 2416 1179, 2416 1489
Fax: 2416 1875
Email: ksmp@sntc.org.sz
Malolotja Nature Reserve:
Tel/Fax: (+268) 2444 3241
Cell: 7660 6755
Email: culturalvillage@sntc.org.sz
Mantenga Nature Reserve:
Tel: (+268) 2416 1151
2416 1178, Fax: 2416 1480
Email: culturalvillage@sntc.org.sz
Magadzavane Lodge
Mlawula Nature Reserve:
Tel: (+268) 2343 5108/9
Fax: 2343 5111
Email: magadzavane@sntc.org.sz