#KnowYourContinent: Meet Swaziland, Africa’s mountainous state

by Toyosi Yusuff

Today, we take a trip to Swaziland…

Swaziland is officially called The Kingdom of Swaziland. Its capital is Mbabane. Swaziland has 28 Cities and the calling code for the country is +268. The largest city in Swaziland is also Mbabane.


 Brief History

The Swazi nation is named after Mswati II, who became king in 1839. The royal lineage can be traced to a chief named Dlamini; this is still the royal clan name. About three-quarters of the clan groups are Nguni; the remainder are Sotho and Tsonga. These groups intermarry freely. There are slight differences among Swazi groups, but Swazi identity extends to all those with allegiance to the twin monarchs Ngwenyama “the Lion” (the king) and Ndlovukati “the She-Elephant” (the queen mother)

On September 6, 1968, Swaziland became an independent nation from its colonial masters after being a British protectorate from 1903 to 1967.



Swazi and English are the country’s official languages, with proceedings of the Parliament of Swaziland taking place in both languages.

Swazi (Swati or siSwati), a southern Bantu language being the national language of Swaziland is spoken by approximately 95 percent of Swazi and present in all national schools.

English is the medium of instruction and is taught in all state and private schools. Competency in English is a prerequisite for admission into most post-secondary institutions.



The capital city is Mbabane, it is also the largest city. Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa with about 200 km north to south and 130 km east to west. It is located in Southern Africa, lying between Mozambique and South Africa. Swaziland has an area of 17,363 square kilometres, of which 160 are water.

She is divided into four climatic regions, the Highveld, Middleveld, Lowveld and Lubombo plateau. The seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere with December being mid-summer and June mid-winter.

The country is largely mountainous, some of the mountains in Swaziland include Emlembe, Lebombo, Mdimba and Sibembe.



The principal Swazi social unit is the homestead, a traditional beehive hut thatched with dry grass. In a polygamous homestead, each wife has her own hut and yard surrounded by reed fences. There are three structures for sleeping, cooking, and storage (brewing beer). In larger homesteads there are also structures used as bachelors’ quarters and guest accommodation.




The currency of Swaziland is the Lilangeni (SZL), Emalangeni- plural and is subdivided into 100 cents. It is issued by the Central Bank of Swaziland (in swazi Umntsholi Wemaswati).

The South African rand is also accepted in Swaziland. Similar to the Lesotho loti, there are singular and plural abbreviations, namely L and E, so where one might have an amount L1, it would be E2, E3, or E4.




Christianity and Islam are the most widely professed religions in Swaziland.


The country is a monarchy, currently ruled by King (Ngwenyama) Mswati III. The king is head of state and appoints the prime minister and a number of representatives of both chambers of parliament.

The first constitution was signed into law in July 2005 and was scheduled to be implemented in January 2006.

Natural Resources

Asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc

670 km² of the country’s land is irrigated.


The agricultural products cultivated in Swaziland include sugar cane, cotton, maize, rice, citrus, pineapples, sorghum, peanuts, cattle.


Mining (coal, raw asbestos), textiles, wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates.


#KnowYourContinent is a brief information platform that delivers incisive titbits on Africa as a continent, and the countries within her.


Post Author: Staff Writer