In Swaziland, the gaps are deep between rich
and poor. More than two out of three residents live
below the national poverty line. Around 40 percent of
the population is estimated to live in extreme poverty,
which means that they do not have access to life's
emergency. Swaziland is also one of the countries in the
world that has been hit hardest by the HIV / AIDS
Poverty is most prevalent in rural areas. There,
people usually live in self-catering, and malnutrition -
sometimes also starvation - quickly spreads when the
crops fail. Then hundreds of thousands of people can
stand without food. According to the UN agency FAO, over
a third of Swazis were malnourished a few years into the
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Swaziland, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Swaziland has a higher proportion of people infected
with HIV than any other country in the world. As a
result, life expectancy is one of the lowest. More than
a quarter of the population aged 15-49 is HIV-infected.
Although reports from shows that the rate of spread has
begun to decline, the AIDS epidemic still poses the
greatest threats to public health and the country's
economy. Tens of thousands of children have lost their
parents to the disease. AIDS patients fill the majority
of the country's hospital beds, and a large proportion
of the unemployed are out of work due to AIDS-related
problems. Due to labor shortages in agriculture, AIDS
contributes to the recurring food shortage in the
The Swazi regime has long been criticized for not
taking the threat of HIV / AIDS seriously. However, in
2004 the authorities declared that the epidemic
constituted a national disaster and three years later a
nationwide strategy for combating the spread of
infection was presented. The HIV / AIDS epidemic is now
being fought with, among other things, free brake
medication, although far from all infected people are
being treated. The slowdown of the spread rate is also
due to more resources for combating AIDS, better
treatment methods and increased international
The authorities stated in 2017 that the number of new
cases of HIV infection had almost halved since 2011. The
success was attributed to the increased use of brake
medication. Four-quarters of all HIV-infected people
were reported to have access to these.
Swaziland's healthcare is poorly developed given that
the country has a relatively high income level (see
Financial overview). In the wake of the HIV / AIDS
epidemic, other diseases such as malaria and
tuberculosis are also increasing.
Swazi society is highly socially stratified in a
complicated clan system and with an aristocracy with
great influence over the community. Most Swazis live in
rural areas and small villages. They usually live in a
small collection of farmhouses (umuti) together
with several other households. Each individual household
(indlu) consists of a husband, a wife and their
children. Sometimes there are several wives in a
Most children go to school between 8 and 13. Almost
all children go to school. After the end of the school
day, many children help their family with housework,
livestock care or cultivation. A popular leisure
pleasure is football. The ball is usually homemade, made
of rubber bands or yarn. Toys are usually made of things
to be thrown away, such as tins, corn cobs or metal
The situation of women
Swaziland is a male-dominated society and traditional
practices discriminate against women. Through
constitutional changes in 2006, women's rights were
strengthened. She then got the right to own property,
land and businesses. A woman was also given the
opportunity to refuse to follow the tradition of
marrying her brother-in-law if her husband dies.
According to the Constitution, a widow is also entitled
to a fair share of the inheritance.
However, it is uncertain what the constitutional
additions will have in practice. Several national laws
need to be amended to comply with the Constitution. Only
in 2010 did some married women get the right to register
property under the law. In addition, the old customs are
firmly rooted in the conservative rural community.
The tradition that a widow is not allowed to appear
in public for a period of time (at least one month, and
sometimes up to three years) after the death of her
husband excludes many women from voting in elections.
Polygamy is prohibited but is still common.
Many girls are abused by male relatives, but in
recent years several cases have been brought to trial
and the perpetrators have been sentenced to prison.
Prostitution, trafficking in women and children and
child and forced marriage occur. Every year, beauty
pageants are held, where young girls show up to the
king, who has the right to choose one of them for his
wife. In 2014, King Mswati III had 18 wives.
The situation for gays
Homosexuality between men is prohibited and the law
provides no protection against discrimination on grounds
of sexual orientation. Generally, low tolerance towards
sexual minorities prevails. In the summer of 2018, a
pride parade was held in the capital for the first time
Clashes between police and opposition
Pudemo blocks border crossings to South Africa in protest against political
parties not being allowed to run in elections (in Swaziland only personal
elections are held). South African police shoot at protesters, but no deaths are
reported. The violent clashes are getting attention in the outside world.
Opposition members are arrested
The police seize several members of the democracy-friendly opposition
movement Pudemo. The arrested are accused of being behind a series of explosions
in 2005. Relatives of the democracy activists are also arrested.