Photos of the People of Swaziland

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Flag of Swaziland

The People of Swaziland

The Swazi people are distinguished by their friendliness and were always more than happy to have their photo taken. These photos give a broad picture of Swazi people, their family life, at work and at play.

Going for a drink
Chief Mabele Hlophe
Mother and child
Swazi girl, Mbabane
Grass hairnet
Father and son
Mthethwa clansman
Farmer and children
Traditional Swazi men
Market woman
Girls in
Swazi warrior
Swazi warrior outfit
Taking snuff tobacco
Snuff from a spoon
Swazi couple
Man with
Cooking outside
Plaiting hair
Combing hair
Early morning wash
Father and sons
Combing hair
Married woman
Helping with
Swazi family
Husband and wife
Man of Emvembili
Mother and child
Threshing plants
Girl with
In Maphalaleni
Having lunch
Woman from Nsangweni
Shield manufacture
Two brothers
Plaiting hair
Family Malinga
Family in Makhosini
Young mother
Family Khoza
Khoza and friend
With grandmother
Aunt with baby
Feeding her new baby

Although store-bought "European" dress is widespread, many would wear traditional clothing, the "emahiya", a toga-like garment, usually red, white and black, printed with bold designs and worn by both men and women. These are in two parts: the top part, "umhelwane", is a large piece of fabric tied with a knot at the shoulder and the bottom part is called "lihiya" and wrapped around the waist: "emahiya" is plural of "lihiya". The men would wear "emajobo", a sporran-like loin covering made from animal hide, over their lihiya. Married men would wear more than one lihiya at the time.

Married women would wear the "sidvwaba", a cow-hide apron and their hair in a beehive style, called "sicolo"; they would help each other with teasing their hair into this shape. Old men often would wear the "umbodze", a head ring; in the old days this used to be fashioned from bees wax. The Swazi are masters in making themselves look good during the many different traditional ceremonies that take place.