The journey to achieving a democratic and free Swaziland has been long and challenging. Over the past decades, we have experienced progress, setbacks, and detours.

 Despite its small size and population, Swaziland has garnered significant international attention in recent years due in part to the failed 2021 uprising. Just like any other country, Swaziland is made up of people who are determined to live in a just and democratic society. It is important to recognize that Swazis have their own feelings, views, concerns, and issues that matter to them.

They should not be seen as objects of pity or charity, but as individuals who deserve solidarity and support from the world. As a nation, we need to break the cycle of despair following the mistakes of the last three years and forge new paths in our search for a radical and lasting solution to the crisis affecting our country and its people.

Our goal should be the freedom of Swaziland, no matter the cost. The people of Swaziland have already demonstrated their willingness to make sacrifices, some even paying the ultimate price. It is crucial therefore to act with maturity and bury the differences within the progressive camp so we can rise from our slumber and inspire confidence one more time that a better Swaziland is possible.

To make tangible progress, Swazi progressives must address key questions:

1. How can we revive the militant and determined mass movement that characterized the defiance campaigns of the past?

2. How can we clearly articulate our agenda to engage a wide range of forces, both within and outside of Swaziland, in the struggle? We need to define what our vision of democracy and a new system looks like, making the struggle more concrete and less abstract.

3. How can we build unity through action? Academic discussions about unity will not liberate the people. We need unity in action, mobilizing people to act together with a common purpose. Criticising what other organisations are doing, even when we feel strongly about their chosen tactics, does not help bring unity in action instead, it demobilises the people. We must endeavour to expand and increase the people´s camp rather than to divide and destroy it.

4. How can we simultaneously lay the foundations for the future Swaziland we aspire to? We must not only rely on slogans and rhetoric but develop concrete policies and strategic alternatives that reflect our vision for the future.

Protesters being dispersed in Manzini. Writer says mass action is the solution to bring democracy in the country. 

Factors that can contribute to real progress include:

1. Reconnecting with the militant traditions of the past, as history has shown that mass action is a powerful force for change. All attempts to change the system either from within or through shooting our way to power will never and must never replace mass action on the ground. The only true genuine change is one owned by the people where they are actively mobilised to stand in the picket lines and demand change.

2. Building and maintaining strong organizational and political infrastructure to create momentum. No change will happen until we have created institutions, structures and organisations that are already steeped in the mould of the new society we want.

3. Unity in action, as silent unity is not enough. We need militant unity in the struggle to achieve our goals.

4. Cultivating a consistent and well-coordinated international solidarity movement that places the Swazi struggle on the global agenda and mobilizes support for progressive forces.

5. Deepening the popular movement within Swazi society, with broad political and organizational support, to render the country ungovernable and make the current system unworkable.

By addressing these questions and factors, we can pave the way for a democratic and free Swaziland that reflects the aspirations of its people.

NB: The author uses a pseudonym and writes in his personal capacity. The views canvassed do not reflect that of his party or the student body he leads.