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Mswati III, King of Swaziland

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 18, 2011 at 20:21:58 :: Swaziland

Mswati III (born Makhosetive Dlamini on April 19, 1968) is the King of Swaziland and head of the Swazi Royal Family. In 1986, he succeeded his father Sobhuza II as ruler of the southern African kingdom. He is generally considered to be one of the last absolute monarchs in the world, as he has the authority to appoint the country's Prime Minister, members of the cabinet, and the judiciary. However, he is bound to a certain degree by Swazi traditions and he does not have the authority to choose his heir.

Mswati III, King of Swaziland

Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini), and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II.

Mswati III is known for his taste for luxury and his practice of polygamy (although at least two wives are appointed by the state), and has been criticized abroad for pursuing his personal interests at the expense of his country, one of the poorest in the world. In 2001 he attempted to curb the AIDS epidemic by invoking an ancient chastity rite, the umchwasho, that banned women under the age of 18 from sex. Within Swaziland, Mswati is a respected and largely popular figure. However, his policies and opulent lifestyle have also triggered domestic protests and international criticism.

He is one of many sons of king Sobhuza II (who had 70 wives, 210 children and at the time of his death left over 1000 grandchildren) and the only child of Ntombi Tfwala, also known as Inkhosikati LaTfwala, one of the king's younger wives.

When king Sobhuza II died in 1982, the Great Council of State (the Liqoqo) selected the 14-year-old prince Makhosetive (the birth name of Mswati III) to be the next king. For the next four years two wives of the late king Sobhuza II, Queen Dzeliwe Shongwe (1982–1983) and Queen Ntombi Tfwala (1983–1986), served as regent while he continued his education in England, attending Sherborne School, before he was called back to take over.

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