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Wednesday, 15 February 2012


A Swaziland schoolboy has been fined E400 for tearing up a photo of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

The boy, aged 17, from near the town of Siteki, said he did it because he had been instructed to do so by his teacher.

He appeared before the Swazi National Court yesterday (14 February 2012).

The boy told the court his teacher had been angry because there was no food at the school and ordered the boy to tear up the photo.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mwsati, reported the boy telling the court, ‘I was afraid he would beat me so I ended up doing as instructed.’

The court was told that the school did not have food popularly referred to as Zondle and this angered the teacher. It turned out that the following day it was the same story and the teacher asked the pupil why the photos of the King were still on the wall.

‘I then tore the photos because I was afraid of the teacher,’ he said. The court wanted to know why he did not tell the police he was ordered by his teacher to tear the photo, but he said he was afraid.

The court president Makhuluma Ndwandwe warned him that it was a serious offence to tear the photo of the King and ordered that he be sent to jail where he could be corrected.

The newspaper reported that the boy was fined E400 as an alternative, which his parents paid and he was released.

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