Swazi Royal Family Tree


Hi. My name is Jack Rackam and today I’m going
to show you the royal family tree of eSwatini. You may know this country by a different name,
that being Swaziland, which was its official name during colonization and after gaining
independence all the way until 2018 when it was officially changed to reflect the name
used by the Swazi people. It is one of only three national monarchies in Africa today,
the other two being Lesotho and Morocco, and it is the only absolute monarchy on the continent,
meaning although the country does have a constitution, it does not limit the power of the king himself.
Once again we’re looking at a kingdom that went through European colonization and emerged
on the other side, and along the way we’ll look at the longest reigning king who ever
lived. [Intro] Ngwane III is considered the first modern
king of eSwatini, after he moved the Swazi people to the area near the Pongola river,
around Zombodze, which became the heartland of the kingdom. He was so influential, that
the name of the kingdom at that time became “kaNgwane” meaning “Country of Ngwane”.
Another name for the Swazi people is “bakaNgwane” or “people of Ngwane”. His rule also saw the first Incwala, a ceremony
held every year that there is a king, in which Bemanti priests set out along the sea and
rivers and quote unquote “pillage” any Swazi people they encounter along the way,
which is to say they’re given small trinkets like simple bracelets, coins, or beer Once they make their way to the king, there
are sacred songs, young men gather a sacred species of acacia tree and engage in bullfighting,
and then there are several days of song and dance in celebration of the new year and reverence
to the king. After Ngwane III was his son Ndvungunye, about
whom there is not much information, but we do know that he expanded the kingdom somewhat However, his son Sobhuza I, also known as
Ngwane IV, conquered significantly more. He reigned around the same time as Shaka Zulu,
and made his kingdom an equal power to the Zulu in order to stave off invasion, allying
himself with another group to the South at the same time. He was succeeded by Mswati II, after whom
eSwatini is named. He was king when first contact was made with Europeans, in this case
nomadic descendants of Dutch settlers from South Africa known as trekboers. He faced
some infighting with his brothers at the beginning of his reign, but ultimately he consolidated
power and expanded the kingdom like his father and grandfather before him, reaching into
parts of modern day South Africa and Mozambique. After his death, succession was handled by
a crown council, and it’s at this point I should point out that eSwatini is technically
not a monarchy but a diarchy, meaning that power is held by not one but two rulers. The
first is the king, and the second is the Queen Senior, who is often, but not always, the
mother of the current king. It was around the time of Mswati II’s death that the Queen
began to play an important role. In this case, the Queen Mother Tsandzile Ndwandwe
took over as regent while the next king was being decided. Ultimately one of Mswati’s
sons Ludvonga was chosen, but just before his coronation, he was poisoned. Thus a council
was put together to determine the next king and they ultimately gave the decision to Ludvonga’s
mother, who adopted the next king of eSwatini, Mbandzeni. There was again infighting surrounding the
succession as another one of Mswati’s sons allied with the Zulu to overthrow his half-brother
Mbandzeni, but he was unsuccessful. Mbandzeni made several concessions to white settlers,
but under his reign the kingdom remained independent. After his death, however, it became a protectorate
of the South African Republic, and a successor king would not be crowned for over five years.
When Ngwane V became king in 1895, much of his power was held by the Boer government
and by his mother. He reigned for only four years until he died during the 1899 incwala. After him came Sobhuza II, who was an infant
at the time, just four months old. His grandmother, Labotsibeni Mdluli, continued to be the power
behind the throne for another twenty-some years. Following her, he outlived several Queens
Senior – his mother, aunt, and several of his 70 – yes, 70 – wives. He lived to
be 83 and died in 1982. Now Sobhuza II is claimed to be the longest
confirmed reigning monarch of all time. However, because he wasn’t formally handed power until
1921 and Swaziland was a protectorate first of the South African Republic and then the
British Empire until 1968, there is some debate as to whether his position should count or
not. In my opinion, I say absolutely. A crown council was again assembled to select
a successor of Sobhuza’s 210 children. In the meantime, his wife Queen Dzeliwe was chosen
to act as regent, until she was ousted and replaced with Queen Ntfombi. She became the
Queen Mother in 1986 when her son Mswati III was made king of eSwatini, and they are both
the rulers of the kingdom today. While Mswati III has made some steps to democratize
the country, such as restoring the nation’s parliament and issuing a new constitution
in 2004. However, the constitution passed received criticism from Amnesty International
for failing to adequately protect certain rights. Since taking the throne in the 80’s,
his human rights record has received condemnation from the international community as he’s been
accused of extrajudicial killings and detainments, targeting the LGBT community and activists,
and of kidnapping women he wishes to marry. Mswati III is currently 51 and in good health,
so it’s unlikely eSwatini will see a new king soon, but in any case it’s unclear who his
successor will be given that the Crown Council will have to select among his 35 children,
with the exception of those born to his first two wives who were appointed to him by the
state. But before I go, there are a few other connections
I’d like to point out. Mswati III’s sister, Mantfombi Dlamini, is married to the King
of the Zulus, who is a sub-national king within South Africa, so these two houses have combined. And his older half-brother Prince Thumbumuzi
married a daughter of Nelson Mandela. You might not know this, but Nelson Mandela is
himself connected to a royal family. He is a distant descendant of the Thembu King Ngubengcuka.
The Thembu Kings are not recognized by the South African government in the same way as
the Zulu or the Rain Queens, whom you can find in a previous video, but they are still
around today. They are distant cousins of Nelson Mandela. The previous king was actually
arrested and is still in prison, and his successor has been selected but is yet to be crowned. All right, that was a look at the kings of
eSwatini. If you enjoyed this video, a thumbs up is always appreciated, and let us know
what African royal family you’d like to see us cover next in the comments below. Thanks
for watching.

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