Animals and Plants
What is growing there in Eswatini?
Large pine forests cover a large part of Swaziland. This is followed by grass plains that are located in the east of the mountains and grass steppes that cover bushes and shrubs. Forests and vast farm landscapes alternate.
Most of the forests, however, have been reforested. In addition to the pine trees, eucalyptus trees can also be found. The largest contiguous forest area is the Usutu Forest with an area of 40,000 hectares.
What animals live in Eswatini?
Many different species of animals live in Eswatini. These include antelopes and zebras, but also giraffes, monkeys, crocodiles and lions. Swaziland also protects the animals in several national parks. Herds of elephants and rhinos live in the Hlane Royal National Park. Leopards can also be found here in the wild. The more than 500 bird species include white-backed vultures, martial eagles, jugglers and marabous.
Sugar cane from Eswatini
The most important crop in Eswatini is sugar cane, which is also exported. Cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, millet and peanuts are also grown. Citrus fruits and especially pineapples are also exported. Cattle, sheep and goats are bred. Most people who do agriculture, however, grow the produce for themselves. That means they use it up themselves and only a small part is sold.
There used to be iron ore that was mined. But there is no longer enough iron ore for mining, so this source of income disappears. Diamonds, coal and kaolin are still mined, but all on a small scale. In Swaziland there is also a Coca-Cola factory that supplies the whole of Africa with the cool drink.
Meanwhile tourism is also growing. More and more people are coming to the country to experience nature there. Especially the animal reserves in the country invite visitors.
However, 42 out of 100 people in Eswatini live below the poverty line. Eswatini’s economy is heavily dependent on South Africa. The currency is closely linked to the South African currency, the South African rand. Half of all exports go to South Africa and 90 percent of all imports come from there.
Festivals in honor of the King of Eswatini
The people of Eswatini maintain their old manners and customs. This includes an important festival that is celebrated in late August or early September every year. Young and unmarried women dance the reed dance here. They cut long reeds that they show the king and especially his mother, who also has an important role in the kingdom. The festival lasts more than a week.
The King of Eswatini married many women and at this festival he usually chooses another wife. He is also a role model for the population and many men in Eswatini marry several women. Problems follow from this. The HIV rate in the country is very high, among the highest in the world. The risk of contagion is even greater through this multiple marriages. If the man has contracted the virus, he transmits the disease to his wives and, in the event of pregnancy, to their children.
Part of the population worships the king, while another thinks that these ancient customs are only intended to show the power of the king. And nobody should have as much power as the king in Eswatini – formerly Swaziland – still has.
What is the Incwala Ceremony?
Another important festival in Swaziland is the Incwala ceremony. This festival always takes place around December 21st and depends on the full moon after this date. The festival is also called the “First Fruit Ceremony”.
Again, the king is the most important person. Only the king can start the festival. It takes a total of eight weeks. This also includes collecting sea foam on the Indian Ocean at the new moon. This foam is used to prepare food that the king receives and spits out to the west and east. When the moon is full, warriors perform a dance and the king receives the first pumpkin of the harvest. During this festival the blessings of the ancestors are requested and the beginning of the harvest time is indicated. The role of the royal family should also be strengthened.
What role do the healers play in Eswatini – formerly Swaziland?
The healers, the Sangoma, have an important function in Eswatini. They are venerated because they bring help to sick people. There are not enough doctors and hospitals and they are particularly lacking in rural areas. This is how people reflect on the traditional art of healing. They collect medicinal plants, dry them and grind them.
Many healers pass on their knowledge of which plant works how to their children. However, it is often not easy to make a correct diagnosis. If a healer does not know exactly what the patient is missing, he throws out bones, shells and amulets and recognizes the disease by the arrangement of the objects. We don’t know whether it always works like this.
Life in the extended family
Many children live in large families. Since their fathers usually not only have their biological mother as a wife, but also often several wives, one can assume that a child also has many siblings. These are often half siblings, but also siblings.
The family is generally very important in Swaziland, a country located in Africa according to payhelpcenter. The old people, when they get old, are very revered in Swaziland and they are asked for advice and help.
Poverty and AIDS
But these old family structures are also changing due to AIDS. So not only the parents of the children die, but also the aunts and uncles and grandparents. If they are not sick themselves, they are often too weak to be able to carry all the burdens on their own.
In addition to the poverty in Swaziland, the biggest problem is the very high AIDS rate. It is estimated that there are 87,000 orphans in Swaziland. The number is increasing because the number of people who develop AIDS is also increasing. Half of the children in public schools often no longer have parents.