Eighty-three children under the age of 11 were raped in Swaziland in the past seven months.
Sadly there’s nothing unusual about this. In 2008 the Unicef reported that one in three girls in Swaziland were sexually abused, usually by a family member and often by their own fathers.
We are often told by King Mswati III and his hangers-on that Swaziland is a peaceful kingdom. Only last week Lutfo Dlamini, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, told a group of journalists from Taiwan that Swaziland was at peace and it was only the international media that made it look otherwise.
I suppose if your definition of ‘peace’ is ‘an absence of war’ he might be right, but if you look at the way lives of children in Swaziland are terrorised, it’s impossible to say they are at peace.
Over the past three years I have written extensively about the stunted lives Swazi children are force to live: they are whipped, raped, starved, traded for sex, flung into jail for being poor, and thousands of them head up households.
If you have the stamina read some of these reports to get a true picture of ‘peaceful’ Swaziland.
Thirty children were lined up and publicly whipped in a bizarre corporal punishment ritual at their primary school in Swaziland. Click.
Swazi men think it is all right to rape children if their wives withhold sex from them. Click.
One in three children is sexually abused. Click.
A nine-year-old primary school child was whipped so badly by her teacher she died of her injuries. Click.
Four in ten children are so malnourished that their growth is stunted. Click.
Hunger and lack of medicine kill up to one Swazi child in seven before they reach the age of five. Click.
About 3 000 Swazi households are headed by children. Click.
Eight year olds scrap for food on streets of Mbabane. Click.
Two children have been jailed in Swaziland for being vagrants Click.
Police fire live bullets at schoolchildren protesting against their deputy principal. Click.
Twenty teachers lined up to thrash children in a sadistic corporal punishment ritual. Click.
Eighteen primary school children were whipped because they were eating their lunch from buckets. Click.
Children are subjected to whipping as punishment by Swazi law courts. Click.
A representative of an international aid agency working in Swaziland called for some Swazi children to be sterilised to stop them having children of their own. Click