Swaziland : Society

Society

Population density (per sq. km): 
72
Life expectancy: 
49 Years
Primary enrolment: 
85% (2007)
Population: 

1,250,000 (2013); 21 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 1.6 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 30 per 1,000 people (49 in 1970); life expectancy 49 years, having fallen sharply since the latter 1990s due to AIDS (48 in 1970, 61 in 1990 and 60 in 1997).

Swazis make up 90 per cent; persons of other African, European or mixed descent ten per cent. Large numbers of Mozambicans fled to Swaziland to escape the civil war, but repatriation was completed in 1993.

Language: 

siSwati is the national language and English widely spoken.

Religion: 

Christians about 60 per cent and most of the rest hold traditional beliefs. Traditional beliefs often coexist with Christian beliefs.

Health: 

Public spending on health was six per cent of GDP in 2012. Services are provided by the state, missions and some industrial organisations. Some 74 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 57 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2012). Infant mortality was 56 per 1,000 live births in 2013 (150 in 1960). In 2013, 27.4 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.

Education: 

Public spending on education was eight per cent of GDP in 2011. There are seven years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 67 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2010). The school year starts in January.

The University of Swaziland offers degrees in agriculture, commerce, education, health sciences, humanities, sciences and social sciences, and incorporates the Institute of Distance Learning. Swaziland College of Technology provides diploma and certificate courses in building, business, education and engineering. The Vocational and Commercial Training Institute offers business and technical training. The female–male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 1.00:1 (2011). Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 94 per cent (2010). There is a national library and a mobile library service to remoter parts of the country.

Media: 

The English-language dailies are The Times of Swaziland/ Sunday Times and The Swazi Observer/The Weekend Observer.

Three national radio stations and the sole national television channel, Swazi TV, are public services.

Some 35 per cent of households have TV sets (2006). There are 37 personal computers per 1,000 people (2006).

Communications: 

Country code 268; internet domain ‘.sz’. Public telephones are widely available. Mobile phone coverage is good in

urban areas. There are internet cafes in Mbabane and Manzini, and post offices in all the main towns.

For every 1,000 people there are 37 landlines, 715 mobile phone subscriptions and 247 internet users (2013).

Public holidays: 

New Year’s Day, King’s Birthday (19 April), National Flag Day (25 April), Labour Day (1 May), Birthday of late King Sobhuza II (22 July), Independence Day (Somhlolo, 6 September), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Umhlanga Reed Dance Day (August/September, date fixed at short notice) and Incwala ceremony (December/January, date fixed at short notice).