Swaziland In the Kingdom of Fire Eyes

At 19, Mswati III moves swiftly to consolidate his rule

When King Sobhuza II of Swaziland died in 1982 after 61 years on the throne, the people of that tiny southern African kingdom lamented, Umntfwana sowuphumulile: the child has gone to rest. Now the slogan of the day in Swaziland (pop. 800,000) is a much more cheerful Umntfwana sowukhulile: the child has grown into a man.

The object of that acclaim is Sobhuza's strong-willed son and successor, Mswati III, at 19 the world's youngest reigning monarch. Five years after his father's death, Mswati has finally shown that he can use his full regal powers with a vengeance. So far this year...

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