The resilience of the Swazi people is amazing. The people’s struggle against an inhuman, barbaric, backward and murderous regime is a demonstration of their commitment to dismantling oppression and determining for themselves how they want to be governed. 

By design, the current system of government was never about the people of eSwatini in the first place. When Tinkhundla (system of entrenched royal supremacy) came into existence in 1978 it was created to entrench and institutionalise a culture and pattern of narrow elitist (royal) accumulation of wealth for the few and exclusion of the majority of our people from the economy. 

At the centre of its very essence is the systematic marginalisation of the poor and working majority from decision-making, economic participation and plans about the future of the country and its people.

Therefore, eSwatini is held hostage by the interests of a narrow royal minority disguised as national interests or Swazi culture. This allows the parasitic values of the royal family to be enforced as an acceptable way of life, that which as Swazis we are told to defend as a collective pride of our very being and essence. 

Beneath the veil of falsehoods, distortions, misrepresentations and royal illusions lie the hard cold and naked facts that the royal family usurps state power to serve its narrow selfish interests, whilst subjecting the rest of the nation to perpetual slavery and suffering, hence the assertion that our society is not organised in the interest of the people as a whole. From the beginning, it was never about the people.

The growing waves of freedom and democracy across the length and breadth of our country must be seen in the context of a nation that is sick and tired of being sick and tired. People want change and they mean what they say; nothing can stop them now – not even the might of state military force will silence these resilient people who have affirmed their unwavering determination to transform the Swazi society from a lower and unacceptable form of social organisation to a higher and even better one, one which is in the best interest of society and the people as a whole. For this they are prepared to fight to the bitter end in honour of those who have already lost their lives in the Swazi liberation struggle.

eSwatini Solidarity Fund volunteers helping communities.

Just when we were confronted by Covid-19: the loss of lives, the suffocated economic activity due to curfew and lockdown, the shutting down of schools and the crumbling of our social establishment as a people, we had to face the hazards of state brutality when the army and police were commanded to unleash lethal force and take lives of people who were demanding their right to elect a government. What started as peaceful marches throughout the country ended in a violent crackdown when the state decided to use force to silence people. 

The regime’s own Human Rights Commission admits that 47 people died and the civil society movement says about 80 people lost their lives. Hundreds got injured and some were amputated. The army moved around communities beating up and harassing people. Even trade union activity is no longer allowed and the right to assembly and to march is not allowed. We saw the shooting of civilians during the attempted march in Mbabane when thousands of Swazis wanted to demonstrate their seriousness about the change. Again, the police used guns and teargassed people inside a bus!

When we expected an apology and explanation about the amputations, loss of lives, injuries and all, we were told that we are drunk with alcohol and high in drugs. To this date, the government has not mentioned anything to the families, communities and the nation at large regarding the June massacre. Remember: the system of government in eSwatini was never about the people in the first place!

This is happening at the backdrop of a nation engulfed by life-threatening priorities such as hunger & malnutrition, joblessness, education crisis (quite frankly, schools have been closed for two years—years two years!), homelessness and lack of scholarships for poor and deserving Swazis. The state of our roads is pathetic – most roads are now a safety hazard and what we see on the roads are no longer potholes but something else! 

Our hospitals do not have medication and people are forced to buy from pharmacies and in some instances they do not find the medication even when they have the money to buy. Ordinary people had to raise funds for those who were amputated after the June massacre so that they could get wheelchairs and other things. 

A Swaziland Solidarity Fund was started to help victims and other families that are sinking in poverty. Swazis are on their own – they only have themselves in any situation. The government is useless and the state has collapsed; it is failing to address the needs of the people.

However, the resilience of our people is keeping the nation intact. Swazis are supporting one another and helping their neighbours. People are sharing meals on daily basis; they travel kilometers to clinics and hospitals where they die without proper care because there is no medication. Swazis are sharing the little they have and they have understood that they are on their own. We only have unity and love for one another as a people. It is us on the one side and the royal family on the other hand. We see them enjoying life every day while we sink deeper into poverty. 

Food prices have increased and fuel is expensive now. We are beaten up by police and army on daily basis but still we rise and refuse to be silenced as we continue to work for change. We do all we do with little resources because we are aware that it is not about what you have in your hands but what is inside of us is more powerful than what is on the outside.

They have tried to manufacture lies and sponsor a propaganda campaign to divide us but our leaders like Mlungisi Makhanya, Sibongile Mazibuko, Mduduzi Gawuzela Simelane, Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza, Mthandeni Dube, Thulani Maseko and Mandla Hlatjwako have pulled us together and reminded us about the bigger picture.

Our leaders have put efforts to see us united and the Swazi people have seen that there is no victory in division—we need unity and they have chosen unity. The regime is losing that battle because we have refused to be divided. That is how resolute we are; that is how resilient we have become! 

All we want is a right to self-determination and to have a country we can all be proud to call home. Prison will not break our hearts. Exile cannot stop the winds of change. Death will never ever make us surrender – those who remain will push until victory.

Surely, the year 2021 has shown that we are a strong nation. We are a loving society and we are resilient. No one can defocus our efforts and we refuse to give up on the journey we have started as a people. We are Swazis and we are strong; we are Swazis and we are resilient. Salute the resilience of the Swazi people. The struggle continues!