Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It’s a Family Tradition

I dislike ever quoting or linking to the BBC, but it is unfortunately necessary in this case.
King Mswati III, ruler of the tiny southern African kingdom of Swaziland, has gotten married. To his eleventh wife. Noliqwa Ntentesa, 21, was selected by the king three years ago at an annual ceremonial dance.

She is pregnant with his 25th child. Two more young women have already been lined up to marry the king.
Let’s take a look at Mswati III’s kingdom, shall we?
Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection.

More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2004 because of drought, and more than one-third of the adult population was infected by HIV/AIDS.
I found, after visiting the CIA’s World Factbook and then the Swaziland Official Government website, some rather glaring discrepancies between the two sources. So, I shall present both sides.
Population Growth Rate: CIA = 0.25% -- Swazoolis = 2.9%

Birth rate / 1000 population: CIA = 27.72 births -- Swazoolis = 36.4 births

Death rate / 1000 population: CIA = 25.26 deaths -- Swazoolis = 7.6 deaths

Infant Mortality / 1000 live births CIA = 69.27 deaths -- Swazoolis = 7.8 deaths

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: CIA = 38.8% -- Swazoolis = 34.2%

Life expectancy: CIA = 35.65 years -- Swazoolis = 60 yrs.
The economic numbers are about as bad. The BBC says that the unemployment rate stands at 40% while nearly 70% of the country's one million inhabitants live on less than $1 a day. King Mswati III owns a fleet of luxury cars, including a $500,000 (£260,000) Maybach, and has spent millions of dollars refurbishing palaces for his wives. I think that more wives for King Mswati III is just the ticket for the Swazoolis. Each of his 11 and soon to be 13 wives can probably hope to survive well past the CIA’s bleak number of 35.65 years and might even make it to the Swazooli governments much brighter 60 years. This government appears to be on a par with this one.

Oh yas, how does all of this tie in with the title of this post? King Mswati III’s father, King Sobhuza II, who led the country to independence in 1968, had more than 70 wives when he died in 1982.

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