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Thursday 13th June
Swaziland Information - Page 2
Although present-day Swaziland - now eSwatini, the "land of the Swazis" - has been inhabited since early times, the Swazi people did not move to the area until the early 1750s.

Around a century later, Boers began to farm land in Swaziland. Following wars between the Boer Republics and the British, Swaziland became a British Protectorate.

In the late nineteenth century the British promised autonomy for the Swazis but independence was not gained until 1968. After independence Swaziland kept ties with Britain through the Commonwealth.

Many of the people of Swaziland are subsistance farmers. Maize is the staple food. Other crops include sorghum, sugar, grapefruit, oranges, pineapples, peanuts, cotton and tobacco. Cattle, sheep and goats are reared.

The Komati Downstream Development Project, overseen by the Swaziland Komati Project Enterprise, was aimed at alleviating poverty. This socio-agricultural project was designed to assist farmers with rural development and commercial agricultural production.

Industries associated with the agricultural sector include canning factories, soft drink concentrates and confectionery. Other industries are electronic goods, wood pulp and clothing. Coal is mined.

Tourism is part of Swaziland's service sector. Remittances from Swazi people working in the Southern African Customs Union add to the country's income. (2008)

Music and dance is an integral part of Swazi culture. An annual event of importance is the Reed Dance, when young girls take part in a ceremony to honour the Queen Mother of Swaziland. Sibhaca dancing, a foot stamping dance, is performed by men and young boys at competitions and during special occasions.

Swazi crafts include carvings in wood and soapstone, pottery, grass weaving and batik. The Indingilizi Gallery, a centre for local art and crafts, also attracts international artists.

Football is the most popular sport in Swaziland. The National Football Association of Swaziland is affiliated to organizations such as FIFA and CAF.

Other sports played include cricket and rugby. Information about sport in Swaziland, including the traditional sports of archery, javelin and wrestling, is available from the Swaziland National Sports Council.

Religious holidays such as Christmas are celebrated. New Year's Day is a holiday. Other days commemorated include the King's Birthday, National Flag Day (25 April) and Worker's Day (1 May). Independence Day is on 6 September (1968). Important traditional events are Umhlanga (Reed Dance Day) and Ncwala (Festival of the First Fruits).

News is available from Newslink.

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