chapter  1
27 Pages

History of the Swazi Kingdom to 1963

WithAlan R. Booth

The Swazi are a Bantu-speaking people inhabiting a small, strategically located country in southeastern Africa. Tradition has it that the Swazi, as part of the Nguni expansion southward from east-central Africa, crossed the Limpopo River and settled in southern Tsongaland in the late fifteenth century. The original inhabitants of modern Swaziland, the San, had by the sixteenth century given way to the Sotho. West-central Swaziland, into which the Sobhuza party pushed, was occupied by loosely organized groups of Nguni and Sotho, from whom the king demanded allegiance. Sobhuza's legacy to his successor was a country far larger, stronger, and more populous than the one he had inherited. The Boers of the eastern Transvaal, whose longstanding covetousness of lush Swazi pastures had been kept in check by their respect for Mswati's armies, were quick to seize the advantage presented by this interregnum.