The Cultural Swaziland
In the Swaziland Highlands Gold, Asbestos and Iron are found, mining and timber make this the most economically important region of Swaziland. The highestpeak in these mountains is Mlembe (‘Place of the Spider’), whose dome-like summit is 1862 meters above sea level.
The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers. They were largely replaced by the Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations. Today, the population is primarily Bantu-speaking ethnic Swazis. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II. The Swazi people know the mountainous area of Swaziland as Nkhangala (‘Treeless Country’). To the East it gives way to the lowveld (the lowveld is the sub-tropical garden of Swaziland.) – or known as the Hlanzeni(‘Place of Trees’) by the Swazi people- “stretching away to end in what resembles a garden wall”. This is the range known as Lebombo (‘ridge’), level-topped, this ridge also acts as the border with Mozambique.
The climate is warm, and the rainfall heavy, with rivers and streams providing vast quantities of water for irrigation. In this paradise, Fauna and Flore flourish, and tropicla fruits and nuts grow to perfection.
Sugar cane grow in sweet, lush quantities,and the country provides ample grazing space for cattle to fatten on seed pods, acacia trees and nutritious leaves.
1750 was the year when the Swazi people made their appearance in what is now known as Swaziland. History has it, that a group of migratory African people who called themselves the abaNguni and were led by a legendary hero named Dlamini, travelled down the eastern side of the Lubombo Mountains from a place far in the north called eMbo.
Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1906, but gained full independence in 1968. Swaziland is home to over 6 national parks. Summer weather is hot, particularly so in the eastern lowveld area. Winter nights are cold, but the days are cheerfully sunny.
The country’s capital city is Mbabane. Hemmed by the ancient granite mountains of 4000 million years known as ‘Swazi Erathem’, Mbabane lies in the valley of a stream which watered the grazing grounds of the chief, Mbabane Khunene.
A trading station was established in Mbabane by Bombardier Wells. His enterprise flourished because of his tradings with passers by who were walking the much used footpath leading from Mozambique through Swaziland to the Transvaal, known as the Ndelakayomi (‘Path Never Empty’).
The principle street was named after the founder of The Times Of Swaziland, Allister Miller. Allister Miller’s personal papers became the foundation of the Swaziland archives.
There is a legend that tells us of the Sotho people, and that allegedly the uSuthu river (meaning ‘The Dark Brown’), the greatest river in the land, is where their name originated.