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Swaziland declares public holiday for King Mswati’s birthday

Princess Tsandzile, Swaziland’s Minister of Home Affairs, has declared the 20th of April a public holiday. This is to honour the birthday of His Majesty King Mswati III.

The Minister for Home Affairs announced the holiday in the Swazi Parliament late last week when she said: “This effectively means Thursday (19 April) and Friday (20 April) will be public holidays when the country will celebrate both the 50th birthday of His Majesty King Mswati III and 50 years since the country gained independence.”

King Mswati III is the last absolute monarch of Africa.  He appoints the country’s prime minister and some representatives in the lower and upper chambers.

Mswati was named as the Crown Prince in September 1983. He was crowned King in 1986 when he was just 18-years-old. This made him the youngest living reigning monarch until the King of Bhutan ascended to the Bhutanese throne in 2006. Additionally, he was also the youngest head of state in the world until the Democratic Republic of the Congo named Joseph Kabila as President in 2001 when he was 29-years-old.

The King of Swaziland is known to live a life of luxury while the majority of his citizens live on a few dollars a week. Upon being criticised when spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars, he banned the photography of his vehicles.

His attendance at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Sovereign Monarch lunch in 2012, held in honour of the Queens Diamond Jubilee, caused controversy in the United Kingdom because of the country’s poor record on human rights and freedom.

King Mswati III was born on 19 April 1968 at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in Manzini, Swaziland. His father was the late King Sobhuza II and his mother, Queen Ntfombi, who is now the Queen Mother. The King of Swaziland has 15 wives and 23 children.

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