You grow up going to school, learning about how King Sobhuza II brought Independence to eSwatini in 1968.

You grow up going to school, learning about how King Sobhuza II brought Independence to eSwatini in 1968. You are not told about an imposed 1968 Independence Constitution that emerged from disagreements between the monarch, political parties and the white settler community.

You grow up being told, “eSwatini is peaceful look at what happens in other countries, do you want to become like Libya"? You are not told about the countless tortures of innocent Swazi civilians behind closed doors and the violations of human rights inside the country.

You actually believe we have it bad, but not like Zimbabwe. But that is exactly what not knowing anything other than oppression does to you – the autocrat gives you half your rights, and tells you they are ‘privileges’ you should be grateful for when they are the basic things they SHOULD afford you. You forget about George Orwell terming this as protective stupidity.

You grow up being told, “Respect your King because he was appointed by God”, and you forget oppressive regimes were dealt with by the same God. You forget that the same Bible poses you to stand with the oppressed. You forget about George Orwell labelling this as silencing your moral impulses. You grow up being told we should preserve our culture and traditions, so you sing, “Lelive ngelakho Ngwenyama”.

You internalize this to mean Swazi culture without the monarch is impossible. You forget that no tradition is static. You forget the countless laments by Sarah Mkhonzas poems on ‘tradition’ and how it has been used to oppress us. You grow up learning that assets are “held in Trust for the Nation”, by the King, and you forget that it means those assets belong to Swazis.

You forget that Tibiyo TakaNgwane started as Tisuka TakaNgwane from Swazis’ contributions towards getting land back from the colonizer. You Forget how Swazis contributed to sending King Sobhuza II to school. You are so used to it that you forget, Swazi Nation Land and these concessions belong to the Nation that you do not question the extreme royal accumulation and misuse of these funds.

You grow up being told to stay out of politics because it is a matter for elders, and you forget that once it hits home, there is no age count to oppression. You forget that the same elders you are being told of were once as young, you forget the very same King was in politics at the tender age of 18. You forget that his children are in the biggest business boards and in liqoqo with no qualifications.

You grow up being told that Christianity is the main religion in the country and you overlook how the same regime promotes ancestral beliefs. You forget that Christianity is a colonial religion, yet it is posed as part of our culture. You overlook how to reconcile rituals done for Incwala and other events, despite the Christian nation propaganda that refuses to acknowledge religious pluralism.

You grow up fearing speaking out on injustice because there are people watching you, you forget that a lie curated through beliefs over time becomes true. You forget that speaking out is not a crime, that you have a right to freedom of speech. You grow up learning that education is the key to success, yet when you open up to embracing political education it is a crime.

You learn to see that education is actually a key to internal conflict because too much education exposes you to injustice and being called, “imbhema nsangu” in light of being right and challenging the status quo. You grow up being told to, “Respect your elders”, to the point of not questioning anything. You end up being a passive human being.

You are told that respect will earn you success to the point of living in a society that wants you to beg for jobs you are qualified for because elders are ALWAYS right. You grow up learning that ours is a ‘monarchical democracy’ not an absolute monarchy. You are not told political parties were banned by the 1973 proclamation and that we are an autocratic regime.

You are told to be patriotic and to fear change because you do not know anything except for what you have lived through. You grow up being told to stay out of politics because, “Ulivukela mbuso”, you forget that your indifference to politics is a political statement. You forget that your very existence is a political statement. As the saying goes, “Lugotjwa Lusemanti”, the regime has curated generations of politically passive Swazis from a young age.

As George Orwell puts it, “WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”. So we have grown to being lied to, to the extent of those lies becoming true. You realise only after fighting with who you really are, after realising the only oppressive reality you have known is unjust, knowledge becomes resistance.

You realise that beyond fear when you have nothing to lose, you are on the way to liberation. You realise only then that George Orwell was right to bring to light that no matter how much a state can try to capture you, it can never control your knowledge. NB: Not real name to protect the identity of the author.