Swaziland’s first residents belonged to the collectors and hunters of the san (formerly called bushmen) and khoikhoi. These were gradually suppressed by immigrant Bantu people beginning in the 15th century.
The people who settled in the area were called Swazis, most closely related to the Zulus in South Africa. Today, they constitute a large majority of Swaziland’s residents. In the country there are also small minorities of other Bantu people, such as Zulu, Shangaan and Tsonga, as well as whites of South African descent.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Swaziland, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
Nearly half of the Swazis live in the middle parts of the country, Middle Velden, where the climate is pleasant and the soil fertile.
Birth rates in the country are high, but population growth is slowed by the fact that death rates are also high due to the AIDS epidemic (see Social conditions).
The vast majority of residents speak the Siswati bantu language. English is widely used in government administration, in business and in schools. Both Siswati and English are official languages.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
siswazi and English are official languages
- minorities of zulu, shangaan, tsonga and more
The King’s cars trigger new protests
After a number of luxury cars are delivered to the royal house, hundreds of civil servants go out into the streets in protest of low wages. According to official sources, the cars have not been paid for with state funds but with money received by the royal family through the sale of other property. Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) unions comment on the car deal with the country needing “basic goods not Rolls-Royce”. According to TUCOSWA, the government has refused to raise public salaries for three years, arguing that there is no money in the Treasury.
Democracy marches down
Teachers and government employees gather in a dissatisfaction march in the city of Manzini and demand higher wages and lower living costs. Police use rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters. The protests began in September when teachers and officials in several cities went on strike. They accuse the king of sucking out the land for his own gain. Swaziland’s National Teachers’ Association promises to continue the fight for democracy.
Lack of drugs causes death
15th of May
Health care is in crisis and several hospitals lack drugs. The reason is that the government has not paid the drug suppliers and is now owed them multimillion amounts. According to several local newspapers, at least three patients have died as a result of the drug shortage and the nursing profession says confidence in general health care is decreasing.
Protesters demand political reform
About 3,000 people gather in a protest march in the country’s second city of Manzini. The protesters demand political reform and expanded freedoms and rights. Political parties have been banned since 1973 and the kingdom is ruled simply by King Mswati III. In recent years, criticism of the system has increased. Democracy activists risk being imprisoned under a strongly contested terrorist law of 2008.