The Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) is cock-a-hoop that UK journalist Mike Unwin is to write a travel book on the kingdom.
Unwin is an experienced journalists and has had many articles published across the world. In 2009, he was in Swaziland on a press trip arranged by STA.
According to the Observer, Bongani Dlamini, STA Marketing Manager, said he had confidence in Unwin, stating that his research would be extensive enough to give a true reflection of the country. ‘We are confident that his research over the month long period in which he will be in the country will be extensive enough to give a true reflection of the Kingdom of Swaziland’, he said.
I have some confidence that Dlamini is correct and Unwin will ‘give a true reflection’ of Swaziland.
‘Certainly the current monarchy could do with its defenders. While democracy has taken root across the rest of southern Africa, political parties remain outlawed in Swaziland. Indeed, a new constitution approved in 2005 enshrined the king’s powers to appoint the prime minister, the cabinet and judiciary. It is claimed that seven out of 10 people live below the poverty line.
‘Meanwhile Mswati has not been the agent of social change that some had hoped for, continuing to snap up wives from among his subjects (13 and counting), and displaying an appetite for cars and palaces that suggests he does not share his late father's ascetic tendencies.
‘Small wonder then that the extravagant 40/40 celebrations held last September  to celebrate the nation's simultaneous 40th anniversary of independence and the king's 40th birthday did not go down well in more progressive quarters.
‘Rumblings about the royal wives’ shopping trip to Dubai and a new fleet of Mercedes cars bought for the occasion culminated in protest marches through the capital. Some saw the spectacular pageantry, in which thousands of royal subjects donned ceremonial leopard skins and turaco feathers to hail their monarch, as mere orchestrated jubilation: the manipulation of culture for political gain.’
Unwin will arrive on Saturday (19 February 2011) and is expected to leave on 19 March.
SWAZILAND KING PUTS OFF VISITORS