Photo © 2005 - KaPhunga, Swaziland

From births to funerals, life’s major events are a community affair in Swaziland. When the country became an epicenter of HIV with some of the highest rates in the world, it was only natural that a grassroots response to the crisis sprang up from local communities.
On this day a giant tent is erected at a village crossroads with chairs and benches set beneath. Neighbors make their way along the road to come together, find their seats and join in an afternoon of skits, speakers and dance groups. The frankness of the events, both educa_tional and enter_taining, elicits gasps and laughter, and signals one community’s will to shatter the taboos of HIV.
Christina Jill Granberg, Peace Corps Volunteer (HIV/AIDS education and community development), Swaziland, 2003-05

SWAZILAND

Swaziland/Kingdom of Swaziland
In southern Africa. Mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains; between Mozambique and South Africa. 17,364 km2 (slightly < NJ), 10% arable.

Capital Mbabane (pop est. 0.04M)
Population 1.4M (161/km2)
Life expectancy 43 years
HIV/AIDS 26%
Literacy 82%
Lang(s) English (official), siSwati
Religions Zionist (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship) 40%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, other (includes Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish) 30%
Ethnic Groups African 97%, European 3%
Gov’t Monarchy
GDP/cap $4,500
PCVs 1969-96; 2003–present, health education and HIV/AIDS awareness (Volunteers in country: 70; total to date: 1,445)
Nat’l holiday Somhlolo Day (Independence Day) 6 September (1968)

 

Focus word for 2012 - "Freedom"

siSwati: inkhululeko (in-cool-ool-ayko)

 

Books

The Kingdom of Roses and Thorns
by Debra Liebenow Daly
Book Description
Amazing stories of real Swaziland women facing AIDS/HIV and poverty whose strength and courage should inspire all who read this book.

 

Kids' Books

Jubela
by Cristina Kessler; illustrated by JoEllen McAllister Stammen
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2001
ISBN-13: 978-0-689-81895-0
Interest Level: K-3
Ages 6-9

 

Music

Sweet Swazi Music – Umyalo
Music from Swaziland

 

Films

Dear Francis, Jason Djang, Brent Gundel (2005)

 

Recipes

Slaai/Swazi avocado slaw
Green mealie bread/Fresh cornbread, steamed