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By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual substitute, the Ndlovukati (lit. She-Elephant). Political activities, especially by pro-democracy movements, are suppressed. In 2001 King Mswati III appointed a committee to draft a new constitution which was strongly criticized by civil society organizations in Swaziland and human rights organizations elsewhere. In 2005, the constitution was put into effect amid much debate. From the early seventies, there was active resistance to the royal hegemony.
Swaziland's economy is dominated by services industry, agriculture and subsistence farming. Growth has been hampered by the effects of HIV and AIDS, the prevalence of which is the highest in the world at 38.8%.
In Swaziland male same-sex sexual acts are illegal although as of May 2008 the legal status of female same-sex sexual acts was unclear according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association's 2008 "State sponsored homophobia" report. According to the Prime Minister homosexuality is an "abnormality and sickness". According to Swazi tradition however, two women can lawfully marry.
Interview: ‘Are there going to be petrol bombs? Rubber bullets?’ Riyadh Khalaf on tense journey making latest film ‘”We need kidnapping random insurance.’” That’s what Riyadh Khalaf’s director of photography told him right before they and their six-person crew set off to make documentary ‘Fighting For Pride: Swaziland’, about the country’s first-ever Pride parade this… Read more »
Swaziland has celebrated its first ever Pride parade, defying a national ban on homosexuality. Around 500 people marched along the streets of Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland – which renamed itself eSwatini earlier this year – despite fears of a violent backlash. A Pride event held at Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp in June led to… Read more »
Analysis Despite the Global Fund’s progressive policies on the inclusion of gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals (GMT) in programmes supported by the Fund, only a tiny fraction of the money spent by the Fund in six countries in Southern Africa has targeted this population. This is one of… Read more »
Unadjusted HIV prevalence among sex workers stands at 70.3%. This is contained in the Swaziland HIV Bio-Behavioral Surveillance Study and Qualitative Study among Most At-Risk Populations (MARPS) conducted by the Population Service International (PSI) in conjunction with the John Hopkins University based in the United States. The findings of the study were released by Director… Read more »
It’s one thing to know that you live in a place where homosexuality is locked up, locked down, punished by draconian laws and vigilante “justice”. It’s another to, well, know. When I first moved to southern Africa this year to do HIV/AIDS work, I knew but I didn’t know. Oh, I heard about how South… Read more »
1 ‘Brand HIV-positive people on the buttocks’ 5/09 2 Africa: Prevention efforts and infection patterns mismatched 5/09 3 African MP apologizes for call to brand PWAs 5/09 4 ‘Gays turned back in clinics’ 2/10 5 Open Society Hosts Meeting Of LGBT Activists From So. Africa 8/11 May 24, 2009 – African Eye News Service 1… Read more »
Editor’s note: Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. Life expectancy there has fallen from 55 to 29 since AIDS first appeared. Peace Corps has had a strong presence in Swaziland for many years. Almost all volunteers there are involved in some form of education or community development that involves AIDS prevention,… Read more »