You knew nothing about Swaziland? Neither did I, let alone remember the name. I kept confusing it with Botswana.
A little over one million souls and a king and queen ruling team, except that they’re not husband and wife but mother and son. It’s always like that in this matriarchal society, you become king on virtue of being your mother’s son. The Queen is chosen and the son follows.
He doesn’t marry but takes concubines (13 at the recent count) and being the king’s son doesn’t give you a right to the throne.
We met one of those strong women this afternoon, the Umphakatsi village chief. Quite a personality!
On the picture, I’m wearing a pareo at the very effigy of King Mswati III. You make sure not to put it on upside-down or inside-in, that would be disrespectful. And women shouldn’t wear pants in the village. Not that it would offend men, because there aren’t any to be seen. Apparently, the stay in the shade, drinking and playing cards, women doing most of the hard work.
A long walk in the Milwane reserve this morning. A chance to get moving mostly, as the animals remain elusive to say the least: a few wildebeests far far away, a couple of zebras, a lonely warthog, several tame antelopes and many termite hills. It’s like being home: lantanas and termites!
I discovered that the woody, granulous termite excrements that I sometime find in the least appropriate corners of my house ( as if there were appropriate places!) are essential to the savannas’ ecosystem. Without them as fertilizers, the herbivores would starve as well as those who feed on them. Termites’ social organization is similar to ants’, except perhaps that termites feed on fungi grown on what they collect. They might also be the inventors of the first air. conditioning system as they manage to keep the nest at a fairly stable temperature ranging between 27 and 31 C.
Well, I won’t bore you with termite talk as you can easily find the information on internet.