King’s Birthday: April 19
King’s Birthday is a public holiday in Swaziland.
The people of Swaziland celebrate the birthday of Mswati III (Makhosetive), the present head of the Swazi Royal Family, on the 19th of April every year. Makhosetive was born on April 19, 1968 and the only son of her mother Inkhosikati Ntombi Tfwala and King Sobhuza II who passed away on August 21, 1982 at the age of 82.
History of Swaziland’s King’s Birthday
Swaziland is the only country in the world known to be the last absolute monarchies on earth, at least in Africa. The king appoints the prime minister and cabinet members. He also controls the legislative portion of the state. Because Makhosetive was born on the same year when United Kingdom (UK) granted independence to Swaziland on September 6, 1968, the celebration of independence also coincides with his birthday.
His father, the Late King Sobhuza, also shares a date in Swaziland’s holiday calendar where his birthday is celebrated publicly every 22nd of July yearly. The sphere of influence of the entire Swazi monarch encompasses all facets of Swaziland’s life and culture.
Swaziland’s King’s Birthday: Traditions, Customs and Activities
During the King’s birthday, the national football stadium is usually reserved for festive celebration for foreign guests invited by Makhosetive. Makhosetive has long been criticized for his extravagant spending usually in millions of US dollars especially on his birthday and unaccounted shopping sprees abroad with his wives despite the increasing number of unemployment, widespread hunger, and the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. But despite of his lavish spending, he is loved and respect by the majority of Swazis.
The King is also known for practicing polygamy as dictated by Swazi Royal tradition. As of February 2010, Makhosetive currently have 14 wives. The King’s Birthday of Swaziland is a public holiday; public offices are closed during the celebration.