King Sobhuza – Father of King Mswati – Swaziland
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King Sobhuza – Father of King Mswati – Swaziland

September 18, 2019

King Sobhuza II, was the Paramount Chief,
and later King of Swaziland for 82 years and 254 days, the longest verifiable reign of
any monarch in recorded history. He was born, Ingwenyama Sobhuza, on 22 July
1899, at Zombodze Royal Residence. He was the son of Inkhosikati Lomawa, and
King Ngwane V. When he was only four months old, his father died suddenly, while dancing
incwala. Sobhuza was chosen king soon after that, and
his grandmother, Labotsibeni Mdluli, and his uncle, Prince Malunge, led the Swazi nation
until his maturity in 1921. Sobhuza led Swaziland through independence
until his death in 1982. He was succeeded by King Mswati III, his young
son, with Inkhosikati Ntfombi Tfwala, who was crowned in 1986. Ingwenyama Sobhuza was educated at the Swazi
National School, Zombodze, and at the Lovedale Institution in the Eastern Cape, South Africa,
before assuming the Swazi throne as paramount chief at the age of twenty-two when power
was formally transfered to him on 22 December 1921. King Sobhuza presided over Swaziland’s independence
from the United Kingdom in 1968, after which the British government recognised him as King
of Swaziland. Early in his reign, he sought to address the
problem of land partition and deprivation, instituted by the British authorities in 1907. He did so by first leading a delegation to
London, to meet with King George V, and petition him to restore the lands to the Swazi people. He again took his case on the land issue in
1929 to the Privy Council. He was defeated by the terms of the Foreign
Jurisdictions Act, which effectively placed the actions of British administrations in
protectorates beyond the reach of the British courts. Sobhuza’s role during this colonial period
was for the most part ceremonial, but he still had major influence as a traditional head
of the Swazi nation. In 1953 he attended the coronation of Queen
Elizabeth II in London. In the early 1960s, Sobhuza played a major
role in events that led to independence for his country in 1968. He opposed the post-colonial Westminster constitution
proposed by the British government, in which he was assigned the role of constitutional
monarch. As a consequence, acting through his advisory
council, he formed the Imbokodvo National Movement, a political party, which contested
and won all seats in the 1967 pre-independence elections. He became recognized by the British as King
of Swaziland in 1967 when Swaziland was given direct rule. Independence was achieved on 6 September 1968. Following this, Sobhuza skilfully blended
appeal to tribal custom, with a capacity to manage economic and social change for his
kingdom. On 12 April 1973, the king repealed the constitution,
and dissolved parliament, henceforth exercising power as an absolute monarch. In 1978, a new constitution was promulgated,
which provided for an elaborate reversion to a tribal mode of rule, involving an electoral
college of eighty members, chosen by forty local councils known as tinkhundla, dominated
by tribal elements. The Swazi economy prospered under Sobhuza’s
leadership. Swaziland is rich in natural resources, and
much of the land and mineral wealth originally owned by non-Swazi interests was brought under
indigenous control during Sobhuza’s reign. King Sobhuza celebrated his Diamond Jubilee
in 1981. At this time, he had successfully restored,
and indeed strengthened the monarch’s role as the chief arbiter of decision-making in
his kingdom. In the early 1980s King Sobhuza attempted
to acquire control over KaNgwane, a Bantustan set up by the South African government, in
an attempt to reunite all Swazi people, separated by the colonial boundary. He died on 21 August 1982 at Embo State house,
at the age of 83. Sobhuza’s official incumbency of 82 years
and 254 days is the longest precisely dated monarchical reign on record and the world’s
longest documented reign of any sovereign since antiquity. Known as, the honorific “Bull of Swazi”, by
virtue of his numerous progeny, King Sobhuza continued the tribal practice of maintaining
many consorts. According to the Swaziland National Trust
Commission, King Sobhuza II married 70 wives, who gave him 210 children between 1920 and
1970. About 180 children survived infancy, and 97
sons and daughters were reported living as of 2000. At his death he had more than 1000 grandchildren. Sobhuza died in 1982, having appointed Prince
Sozisa Dlamini to serve as ‘Authorized Person’, advising a regent. Selection of a successor was confirmed only
after King Sobhuza’s death, a regent being necessary if the heir remained under age at
that time. By tradition, the regent would be one of the
queens consort, who had borne the late king a son. The first regent was Queen Dzeliwe, but after
a power struggle, Sozisa deposed her, and she was replaced by Queen Ntfombi. Ntombi reigned on behalf of her young son
by King Sobhuza, Prince Makhosetive Dlamini, who was designated as Crown Prince. He was crowned King Mswati III in 1986. One of Sobhuza’s sons-in-law was Goodwill
Zwelithini, King of the Zulus of South Africa, who married the Swazi king’s daughter, Princess
Mantfombi, born at Siteki in 1956, and betrothed in 1973, at Nongoma in June 1977. Another in-law is, Zenani Mandela, the daughter
of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who belonged to a cadet branch of the Thembu
dynasty, which reigns as paramount chiefs in the Transkei. She wedded King Sobhuza’s son, Prince Thumbumuzi
Dlamini who, although an older half-brother of Mswati and Mantfombi, did not inherit the
Swazi throne, instead launching, with his wife, an enterprise in the United States. Swazi people who lived during the reign of
King Sobhuza, remember him with nostalgia, expressly indicating that he was the very
embodiment of the Swazi nation, the people and the land. He is really loved by the people, and they
describe him as wise and progressive king. Thanks for watching. Please comment, like, share and subscribe.

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  1. I did nt catch up whether King Sobhuza manage to Unite All Swazis scattered around by Colonial Masters under his rule of Swaziland (now eSwatini l m thinking of those Swazis of aMpumalanga


  3. White people seems to know everything about us..and we are still learning about white man and his findings so we depend on sad

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