Eswatini Has Had Enough of Its Despotic King

Eswatini Has Had Enough of Its Despotic King
Eswatini’s King Mswati III addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

Many years ago, an acquaintance told me a story from her childhood in the country then known as Swaziland that sounded like something from out of the distant past. One day, she said, officials from the king’s palace came to her high school and left with one of her friends, a beautiful girl, in tow. The country’s king, Mswati III, had caught sight of the girl and decided he wanted her as one of his many wives, who now number 15. 

As startling as Mswati’s predatory marital practices are, so too is the fact that the depth of his despotism, then and now, has largely played out under the world’s radar.

The world may not have been paying a lot of attention to the tyranny of Africa’s last absolute monarch, who has ruled the country he renamed Eswatini for 35 years. But the people of Eswatini have, and now they are demanding change.

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