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Saturday, 31 May 2008


Princess Sikhanyiso, the eldest daughter of Swaziland’s King Mswati III, has been listed as one of the world’s ‘hottest’ young royals.

Forbes magazine made the list using the ‘winning combination of looks, money and popularity on the web,’ according to a report in the Times of Swaziland yesterday (30 May 2008).

What the Times didn’t tell us was how much weight was given to each of the three categories. I am far too gallant to comment on the Princesses’ looks, but I know her father is not short of a few dollars.

Readers of this blogsite may remember that Princess Sikhanyiso features heavily in the documentary Without The King, which examines how the royal family in Swaziland is out of touch with ordinary people in the kingdom and how hungry and oppressed Swazis are beginning to fight back.

One reviewer of the documentary described Sikhanyiso as ‘spoiled-rotten’, ‘an airhead’ and ‘Africa’s answer to Paris Hilton’. The review appeared on the web, and I don’t suppose it helped the princesses’ Forbes rating much.

The Times quotes Percy Simelane, the Swazi Government spokesperson, saying of the Forbes report, ‘Such recognition and respect in extension does benefit the Swazi nation’. But the newspaper doesn’t say what ‘benefit’ being ‘the hottest’ brings the 600,000 Swazis who are presently relying on food aid from international donors to fend off starvation.

By the way, the princess came 20 out of 20 in the top list, according to the Times.

I congratulate the Times for being observant and finding the report from Forbes on the Internet. However, why didn’t the newspaper or any other media in Swaziland report on the Forbes survey about King Mswati III?

Forbes reported in August 2007 that Swaziland King Mswati III was the richest monarch in all of sub-Saharan Africa. Forbes estimated his net worth to be 200 million US dollars (one billion four hundred thousand Swazi emalangeni).

He was also the youngest monarch (he was then aged 39) to appear on the Forbes ‘rich list’ of the 15 richest monarchs in the whole world.

Although people across the world have been able to learn about this wealth, the king’s subjects, 70 percent of whom live on one US Dollar a day or less, have not been told anything.

I think we all know the reason why the Swazi media kept the report from King Mswati’s subjects.

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