Photos of Swaziland Independence Celebrations in 1972 - '74, Swaziland

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Swaziland Independence Celebrations in 1972 - '74

Because not everybody can go to Lobamba on the main day for the Independence Celebrations, there are also local celebrations held all over the country, like in Motshane (Motjane), west of Mbabane near the South African border with plenty of traditional dancing by the Swazi regiments and by groups of girls and women.

Women dancing
Dancing regiments
Posing for a photo
Men dancing
Swaziland Army
Praise singer
Army and Regiments
Arrival Ndebele delegation
African chiefs
King Moshoeshoe II
King's wives arrive
Queen Mother arrives
The Ndlovokati
The Queen Mother
King's daughters watch
Showing the program
Swazi girl scouts
Gcina youth Regiment
Introducing the Lilangeni
Showing the Lilangeni
Police and army
Emakhosikati arrive
Ndlovukati arrives
Imbongi Praise singer
The King arrives
King's salute
Praise singer
Arrival of princesses
Girl scouts parade
Gcina youth Regiment
Flags and streamers
The King's speech
Nqaba kaNqofula
Warriors' salute
Royals return
Regiments march past

In 1973 Swaziland suddenly had an army, the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force. It was said that South Africa had provided the items, including uniforms and weapons, with the object to have a "friendly" army at his border as the Apartheid regime foresaw the end of Portuguese colonial rule in Mozambique and possibly the untenable situation in white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). At the fifth anniversary of Swaziland's independence, this army marched into Somhlolo Stadium, as did the traditional "emabutfo" regiments.

Among King Sobhuza II's guests were two South African tribal chiefs and their entourage: the Chief of Transvaal's Ndebele people, dressed in an impressive cloak and colourful neck ring and King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulus, wearing a leopard skin over his otherwise European style uniform. Being more powerful than the Swazi in the past, he could only watch as independent Swaziland showed off its own army. King Moshoeshoe II of independent Lesotho also arrived, stood on a dais while the Lesotho National Anthem was played and joined the other guests. He was wearing a Basotho blanket and a "Mokorotlo", the traditional woven hats worn by many Basotho.

After the "emakhosikati" or King's wives, the "bantfwabenkosi" or King's daughters and the "Ndlolovukati", the Queen Mother, had arrived, King Sobhuza II entered in an open Land Rover and delivered his speech to the Nation. He then joined his Royal guests to watch a display of the "Gcina" regiment; it now included also girls, marching past and performing a gymnastics demonstration with the boys. The King, as usual, then danced with members of his own Balondolozi Regiment and the other "emabutfo" the "iNqaba kaNqofula", the ancient slow warrior dance.

Swaziland had been using the South African Rand as its currency, but on Independence Day in 1974 its own currency, the Lilangeni (plural: Emalangeni) was launched in Mbabane by Robert T. Stephens, Swaziland's Minister of Finance, with the king in attendance and Prime Minister Prince Makhosini and his cabinet. Lesotho's Prime Minister Chief Leabua Jonathan, dressed in a voluminous rug and wearing sunglasses, was also present at the launch.

The Royal Swaziland Police and the army, the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force, had a greater role to play in the sixth Independence Celebrations in Somhlolo Stadium, Lobamba. After the King and his family had arrived, there was a spectacular display by boys and girls of the "Gcina" youth regiment.

The "iNgwenyama" King Sobhuza II, in full traditional dress, gave his speech to the Nation and then danced the "iNqaba kaNqofula", an ancient warriors dance, with his traditional regiments, while his daughters and wives, according to custom, danced in front of them. The official festivities ended with a large march past by the army, the traditional "emabutfo" regiments and the "Gcina" youth group.