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Culture of Swaziland


The Swazis have retained their cultural identity despite growing western influence. While many people find it convenient to dress in western clothes, large numbers still stick to the traditional brightly coloured native attire.


The local culture is preserved in the continuing practise of old traditions, rituals and social values. The older system of social behaviour dominates and even education and modernisation have not affected certain aspects of life like dowry, arranged marriages and the role of women in society. Elders are venerated and worship of dead ancestors is an integral part of family life. 

The monarchy is highly respected and though a lot of the feudal rights of the king have been dispensed with, symbolic homage is still paid. Even the king is not exempt from adhering to certain traditions that are established. An interesting deviation from norm is that the eldest son is not necessarily the next king and heir - that is decided by the Royal Council, which chooses the next king from amongst the unmarried princes.

Swaziland is as rich in crafts as any other tribal society – weaving, woodcarving, basketry, cane work, jewellery making are just some of the traditional crafts that have been passed down the ages. Music and dance too are very essential parts of Swazi culture and can be seen at village celebrations or during the annual Incwala ceremony, the harvest celebrations and the Umhlanga or Reed Dance performed by young maidens to pay homage to the Queen Mother.