• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Case Study on Swazi culture

Extracts from this document...


Case Study on Swazi culture INTRODUCTION & HISTORY The Swazi are part of the millions of Bantu-speaking peoples of Africa who migrated at different times from farther north and eventually arrived to the south-eastern region. They brought cattle and seed for cultivation, and handmade products of iron, wood, skin and clay. There occurred physical mingling and cultural diffusion and borrowing. In their process of historical growth, the Swazi developed their own political system, a dual monarchy that, though unique, fits into the general category of centralized chiefdoms. At the head there is a hereditary king Nwenyama (Lion) of the Dlamini clan, and a queen mother Ndlovukazi (Lady Elephant). Swaziland is a country of 11.200 m2 at the south east of the continent, limiting with South Africa, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. It is of great importance to this society the abundant supply of water. People do not consider droughts or floods as acts of God or nature, but as signs of royal displeasure. The Swazi had no script by which they could transmit their past to paper, and their approach to time was episodic rather than chronological. They remembered floods, wars, and famines and the major time unit was a reign. Swazi historians are generally old men interested in the past and their versions of history frequently contradict each other. They recall the name of some twenty-five kings, but they only agree in the last eight, beginning with Ngwane II. He and his kinsmen settled in Shiselweni, the "Place of Burning". There he died and annual pilgrimages are made to the place where he is buried. Nwane's grandson, Sobhuza I, came into conflict with Zudze from the Ndwandwe clan for some garden lands. Sobhuza was a pacifist and, in order not to have problems with the Ndwandwe, he moved north. They encountered Nguni and Sotho groups, and forced them to declare their loyalty to the Dlamini clan or else they'd be destroyed. ...read more.


will share among the occupants. The king must awaken his father's royal homesteads, and inaugurate new places of his own. He perpetuates the old homesteads by sending some of his wives to live there and one of his sons will become the chief prince of the area. Swazi marriage is essentially a linking of two families more than of two persons. This marriage is consummated with the bearing of children. Swazi marriage is of enduring nature, as seen with the application of the levirate. When a man dies, his wife shall be inherited by one of the male relatives to bear children in his name. The woman main role is the bearing of children; if she cannot bear any children, her family must either return the lobola or provide her with a relative as junior co-wife, to bear children to "put into her womb". High lobola is a symbol of the permanence of marriage, and divorce is rare in Swazi society. The amount of lobola depends on the women status, and if she is chosen to be a king's main wife, many headmen will probably contribute to the paying of the lobola. This issue is controversial in modern Africa, as it is condemned as the buying and selling of women, but its permanence has led to a deeper sociological level. The woman is a valued member of the community and the transaction symbolizes her past status and her future security. By lobola, her children are made legitimate and acquire the benefits of their father's lineage; and her family is compensated by the loss of her services. A first wife is never the main wife. This election may depend on pedigree, and a chief's daughter has advantage over any other. Other factor may be considered, such as marriage to a specific kin. In this case the most important is the one who has the clan name of the man's paternal or maternal grandmother. ...read more.


The relationship between a chief and his subjects is essentially personal. The term father extended from the family to the head of the homestead, and to the chief of the district, suggests authority and protection. He is expected to know all the families and share moments of social importance (death, wedding, birth) with his subjects. His power is paternalistic, not despotic. Swazi political authorities are criticized by their subjects if they are aggressive and domineering. They are constantly reminded that their prestige depends mainly on the number of his followers, and he is aware that his subjects have the right to migrate if they are not happy with his procedure. Freedom to move is a primary characteristic of the traditional Swazi citizen rights. WEALTH AND STATUS Accumulation of wealth is not noticeable in traditional society, where rulers and subjects live in the same type of home, eat the same kind of food, and use the same limited range of utensils. Generosity is the hallmark of achievement and the main virtue of buntfu (humanity). From infancy, children are taught not to be greedy and they, themselves, soon enforce the rule of sharing. The character of a headman is judged by his hospitality. A donor must always belittle his gift, while the recipient must exaggerate its importance and accept even the smallest gist in both hands. Begging carries no shame between Swazi, To beg is a sign of deference and to give is a token of superiority, enhancing status. The person who refuses a request should suffer, and what is given is a gift that shall not be returned. A person is thanked for a favor by a further request: "do the same tomorrow". There is a considerable restraint on ambition and ability, rich conservatives divide their homesteads, lend out their surplus cattle and hide their money in the ground, for they fear witchcraft. It is safer to plead poverty, than to boast of wealth. The major obvious disparity in wealth is not between traditional and "progressive", or between aristocrat and commoner, but between Whites and Swazi. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1941-80 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1941-80 essays

  1. The Lion King"

    Eventually Simba is grown up and in attempt to repair the damage, he declares war on his uncle Scar, Simba comes to learn that his father's spirit lives on in him and that he must accept the responsibility of his destined role.

  2. Analysis of “The Lion King”

    Simba went through the first four steps of Maslow's Hierarchy during the time that he lived with Timon and Pumbaa. When he first met them he said, "I'm so hungry I could eat a whole zebra." An example of the first step of the hierarchy being met, which is physiological

  1. How far did the role and status of women change 1914 and 1928

    I think that sources E and F are quite reliable to an historian studying the civil rights movement in the USA in the 1960's. This is because black people gave both of the statements/speeches and why would they say that they are making progress when they aren't.

  2. The scope of this investigation is to discover the Rastafari movement mainly by considering ...

    peace speech into this song. The purpose of the song is to spread out the message of the intentions and perceptions of the Rastafari by using the words of H.I.M (His Imperial Majesty) Haile Selassie. The message contains that, as long as skin colour of the man is of significance,

  1. Writing about Diverse Culture

    like this and then apologise and get away with it, is exactly what produces a culture that says racism and discrimination and victimisation off people, because of what they are, is OK' Although racism is still worryingly common, the official 'line' is all humans have the same rights.

  2. Essay Structure

    Michael's father lifted the boy's vision to a higher plane: he told him about Martin Luther, the great religious leader of the Reformation, saying that from now on they would both be named after him. (2) Martin Luther King - The Legacy - ITV 1988 His father's support for Marcus Garvey of UNIA (3)

  1. Compare how the protagonist's relate to each other in each of these short stories. ...

    When she is on the cliff she is petrified of its height and as personification is used it creates an even more dramatic scene; 'sheer, sheer, the white cliff rising'. Unfortunately Lacey is very insensitive to Molly's needs and is almost oblivious to her feelings.

  2. A Raisin In the Sun.

    'She believes in striving to succeed while maintaining her moral boundaries.' (Sparknotes) After making the down payment, her children are visited by a Mr. Lindor, who is a representative of the people living in the new neighbor hood in which she has just bought the house.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work