Where Is Swaziland and What
Is It Known For?
Landlocked Swaziland in southern Africa lies between Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa. Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 km north to south and 130 km east to west. Savanna plateaus descend from mountains in the west towards hill country in the east. The climate is subtropical the temperature may reach 40 degrees in summer in the lowveld but temperate in the mountains. Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 m in the west.
The area that Swaziland now covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is siSwati, though English is spoken as a second language. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Anglo Boer war saw the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland make Swaziland a protectorate under its direct control. Swaziland gained independence in 1968.
Subsistence farming predominates. Asbestos and diamonds are mined. Exports include sugar, fruit and wood pulp. Tourism and workers’ remittances are important to the economy. Most trade is with South Africa.
Sixty percent of the population live on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day. Swaziland's economic growth and societal integrity is highly endangered by its disastrous HIV epidemic, to an extent where the United Nations Development Program has written that if it continues unabated, the "longer term existence of Swaziland as a country will be seriously threatened." The infection rate in the country is unprecedented and the highest in the world at 26.1% of adults and over 50% of adults in their 20s.