25 October 2019

BOOK: Hlengiwe Portia DLAMINI, A Constitutional History of the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), 1960–1982 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). ISBN 978-3-030-24776-8, €84,79

(Source: Springer)

Palgrave Macmillan is publishing a new book on the constitutional history of Swaziland.


Swaziland—recently renamed Eswatini—is the only nation-state in Africa with a functioning indigenous political system. Elsewhere on the continent, most departing colonial administrators were succeeded by Western-educated elites. In Swaziland, traditional Swazi leaders managed to establish an absolute monarchy instead, qualified by the author as benevolent and people-centred, a system which they have successfully defended from competing political forces since the 1970s. This book is the first to study the constitutional history of this monarchy. It examines its origins in the colonial era, the financial support it received from white settlers and apartheid South Africa, and the challenges it faced from political parties and the judiciary, before King Sobhuza II finally consolidated power in 1978 with an auto-coup d’état. As Hlengiwe Dlamini shows, the history of constitution-making in Swaziland is rich, complex, and full of overlooked insight for historians of Africa.


Hlengiwe Portia Dlamini is a postdoctoral fellow in the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. She received her PhD from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and her research interests include the governance of public space, community policing, the enfranchisement of women, and Islamic minorities in Swaziland. 

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