Sunday, September 30, 2007

Interesting Facts: Swaziland, Africa

Carlo Capua (Toluca, Mexico / USA)

(translated by Laura Vaillard (original version)

Pictures by Carlo Capua

The Kingdom of Swaziland, sandwiched between South Africa and Mozambique, is one of the last and longest reigning monarchies in the world. Originally a colony of England, it achieved a peaceful independence in 1968.

Interesting Swazi fact #1
Polygamy is an accepted part of Swazi tradition and is still legal (but very rarely practiced today). Upon stumbling onto this little piece of information, I told my family and co-workers that I would be personally bringing as much Swazi culture back as I could. I think everyone found it funny except for my parents.

Interesting Swazi fact #2
Just about everyone loves King (Inkhosi) Mswati III. He holds absolute power – political parties are banned and he can veto any legislation. People love the king; he is a symbol of what it means to be a Swazi.

Interesting Swazi fact #3
Elephants can run up to 45 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour). And as one of my Swazi students put it best, “Carlo, I don’t have outrun the elephant. I just have to outrun YOU!”

Interesting Swazi fact #4
The HIV/AIDS infection rate is 26% (highest in the world) and average lifespan is around 33 years (lowest in the world).
About Carlo Capua and Sister Cities International
I travelled on behalf of Sister Cities, for a program between Fort Worth and our newest partner of Mbabane, Swaziland. I went on a fact finding trip to start a young professionals exchange and visited communities of HIV patients, orphaned children, and brought attention to our new Sister Cities relationship through media events and visits with City Council.

In June 2008 I will lead a group of our young alumni to develop projects to create mutual understanding between students in both countries, increase the partnership between Fort Worth and Mbabane and create opportunities for cultural exchange and friendship between students.

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