Forgotten World (92): Swaziland

Swaziland is a land-locked African country of only 1.1M people (most of the same Bantu tribe) with an odd location since it is almost entirely surrounded by its larger, more prosperous neighbour South Africa (it adjoins Mozambique in the east). It is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies and Its king King Mswati III rules by decree over his subjects, most of whom live in the countryside and follow traditional ways of life.
The current king has been on the throne since 1986, and is upholding the traditions of his father, King Sobhuza II, who reigned for almost 61 years and scrapped the constitution in 1973. He rules by decree, has banned opposition parties and trade unions and says the country is not yet ready for multi-party politics. Like his father, he is taking multiple wives.
Many Swazis live in chronic poverty and food shortages are widespread. Aids is taking a heavy toll with more than 40% of the population believed infected with HIV.
I travelled through the country in 2004 [my account here].