chapter  3
18 Pages

Government and Politics, 1963-1983

WithAlan R. Booth

Swaziland became an independent nation in September 1968. The Swazi petite bourgeoisie, whose roots lay in the beginning of the colonial era, became a discernible interest group in the years following World War II. It was a product of the government-sponsored education system, the initial graduates of which became for the most part teachers, clerks, and minor civil servants, to which were added a number of traders, smallholders, and artisans. The new government turned mainly to the two issues that were the principal concerns of a burgeoning and increasingly demanding petite bourgeoisie, land and the Africanization of the bureaucracy and of lower management in the private sector. In the political struggles of the 1960s and 1970s its representative political parties claimed to speak for the Swazi working class as well as its own interests, which made them an even more ominous threat in the eyes of both the monarchy and the settlers.