The Swazi people, descended from the Southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries together with the Xhosas and the Zulus, which belong to the Nguni subgroup. The Swazi ancestors, the Nkosi Dlamini, broke away from the mainstream of Nguni migrants led by Chief Ngwane, and settled in the region of the Pongolo river absorbing the Nguni and Sotho clans in the area.
By 1750 they had settled in the Hluti Region in the South of the Kingdom, under King Ngwane 111 of the Nkosi Dlamini clan. The country derives its name from a later King, Mswati 1. However, Ngwane is an alternative name for Swaziland and Dlamini remains the surname of the royal family, while the name Nkosi means King. The historical evolution of the autonomy of the Swaziland Nation was dictated by British rule of southern Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1881 the British government signed a convention recognising Swazi independence. However, controversial land and mineral rights concessions were made under the authority of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890 in terms of which the administration of Swaziland was also placed under that of the then South African Republic (Transvaal).
At the commencement of the Anglo Boer war, Britain placed Swaziland under its direct jurisdiction as a Protectorate and repeated representations especially relating to land issues by the King and his Councillors which affected the political process, were rebuffed. Nevertheless, the Swaziland independence Constitution was promulgated by Britain in November 1963 in terms of which a legislative Council and an Executive Council were established. This development was opposed by the Swazi National Council (ligogo), as it was not in accord with the wishes and aspirations of the Swazi Nation.
Despite such opposition, elections took place and the first Legislative Council of Swaziland was constituted on 9 September 1964. Changes to the original constitution proposed by the Legislative Council, were accepted by Britain and a new Constitution providing for a House of Assembly and Senate, was drawn up. Elections under this Constitution were held in 1967.
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small landlocked country which covers just over 17,000 square kilometres and is about the same size as Wales. It is arguably the smallest country in the Southern hemisphere, situated between the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and Mozambique at a latitude of 31 degrees, 30 minutes east of Greenwich and a longitude of 26 degrees, 30 minutes south of the equator. The country is often referred to as the Switzerland of Africa. It offers a magnificent mountain scenery with unique, ancient rock formations, which are a source of fascinations for geologists and scholars, as well as visitors.
The Kingdom comprises four topographical and climatic areas, which vary from 400 to 1800 metres above sea level., each with its own climate and characteristics. The mountainous highveld to the west comprises rivers, waterfalls and gorges and has a temperate climate of warm, wet summers and dry winters when the temperature can rise sharply during the day but with cold nights. Covering about 40% of the country. While this area is drought-prone, sugar is successfully grown commercially on a wide scale under irrigation. Cattle faming is also extensively carried out here.
The smallest region is Lubombo, which borders with Mozambique. This subtropical area is typified by mountainous scenery and abundant and animal life Mixed farming is the main activity here. The nearest harbour is at Maputo which is about 235 kilometres from Mbabane, the administrative capital and 200 kilometre from Matsapha, the country’s main industrial area.