Mbabane, 6 September 2023 (TDI): Somhlolo Day, also known as Swaziland Independence Day or Sobhuza Day, is an annual public holiday observed in Eswatini on September 6.

This significant holiday commemorates the country’s liberation from British colonial rule in 1968. On the occasion of the 55th Independence Day of Eswatini, Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini of Eswatini extended warm wishes.

It was a momentous day, coinciding with the 55th birthday celebration of King Mswati III, the ruler of Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

To commemorate this important occasion, ceremonies were held at the Somhlolo Stadium in Lobamba, the royal capital.

Local celebrations were also organized throughout the country, featuring traditional singing and dancing by Swazi regiments, groups of girls, and women.

Dancers perform at Eswatini’s Independence Day celebrations in the African country’s capital Mbabane on Wednesday.

King Mswati III graced the Somhlolo National Stadium in Lobamba, where enthusiastic crowds gathered to witness his parade.

In his address to the nation, the King emphasized the paramount importance of peace in the African continent, particularly in light of ongoing power struggles in the northern region, which have been disruptive to initiatives like the Africa Free Trade Agreement.

 

During this special day, businesses, schools, and non-essential government offices remain closed, granting the general population a day off.

If Somhlolo Day falls on a weekend, it is shifted to the following Monday to ensure everyone can enjoy a day off from work.

People use this holiday as an opportunity to visit family members and savour traditional dishes such as Emasi Emabele, Tinkhobe, and Emahewu.

Eswatini’s status as one of the few remaining monarchies in Africa underscores its commitment to preserving its rich culture and heritage.

King Mswati III waves at the public on Wednesday at the ceremony celebrating the Independence Day of Eswatini and his birthday.

Present-day Eswatini holds the distinction of being the smallest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere and the second smallest on the African continent.

In the mid-nineteenth century, under the leadership of King Sobhuza I (Ngwane IV), Swaziland was twice its current size.

However, the Pretoria Convention of 1881, while guaranteeing Swaziland’s ‘independence,’ also defined its borders, resulting in significant territorial losses for the nation.

Following the collapse of the Boer administration at the end of the Anglo-Boer War in 1903, the British assumed control over Swaziland as a protectorate. The movement toward independence gained momentum in 1964 with the adoption of Swaziland’s inaugural constitution.

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Subsequently, a new constitution in 1967 paved the way for self-government upon achieving independence.

On September 6, 1968, Swaziland was formally granted independence within the framework of the Commonwealth, marking a historic moment in the nation’s history.

This notable national holiday derives its name from King Sobhuza I (Ngwane IV), who reigned from 1805 to 1839. He was affectionately known as ‘Somhlolo’ (The Wonder) and is regarded as the founding figure of Swaziland.