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Swaziland, nationalist and economic protests

Nhlanhla Dlamini


Protest and resistance have been manifested in Swaziland since at least the sixteenth century, when the Dlamini rulers started to assert their hegemony over the resilient peoples of the area. In this context, contestations centered on the alliances and rivalries that were set up either in support of, or in competition with, Dlamini domination. During the time of Mswati II's reign in the nineteenth century, major forms of protest emanated from competing rivalries contending the throne. This was the case, for example, when rebellions were staged by the king's brothers, Malambule, Fokoti, and Somcuba. Ultimately, Dlamini hegemony had been firmly established by the time of Mswati II's demise in 1865. Toward the end of the nineteenth century there was pressure from the Boer republics and the British empire: this was met by diplomatic but vigorous protest from Swaziland's indigenous rulers, although they ultimately agreed to the territory becoming a British protectorate in 1902. The traditional rulers continued advancing Swazi grievances after the establishment of colonial rule, and well before the emergence of modern political parties. While British sovereignty was accepted, its terms were contested throughout the period of colonial rule. Traditional leaders sought to defend their prerogatives at the same time as they were being incorporated into the system of “indirect rule.” Between ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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