Succession In Swazi Kingship
By Richard M. Patricks, SNTC. July 2000.
No king can appoint his successor. Swazi customary law regarding succession to kingship states: "inkhosi yinkhosi ngenina" - "a king is king through his mother". When a king is dead, the royal family meets to decide which of his wives shall be "Great Wife" and "iNdlovukazi" (she-elephant I Queen Mother). The son of this "Great Wife" will automatically become the next king.
To qualify, the "Great Wife" must:
The crown prince can only be installed as king after the late king's wives have gone through a mourning period of at least two years.
A Swazi king's first two wives are chosen for him by the national councillors. These two wives have special functions in rituals, and their sons can never claim kingship.
Tourist literature often states "The King takes a new wife every year at the Reed Dance." He is NOT obliged to do this, but of course notices girls at the Dance and MAY arrange for a discreet meeting to see if they are suitable, as happened in August 1999.
King Mswati Ill currently has seven wives, twelve children, and one fiancee (" li-phovela, plural: ema-phovela).
A Swazi King places his wives in different Royal Villages around the country.
Sobhuza II's wives and children
Tourist literature often states "100 (or 200) wives and 600 children."
However, a list of wives & children compiled by this writer in 1986, shows:
Sobhuza 's grandchildren (list not yet complete): over 1,000.
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