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Eswatini Population, Official Language And More.




Eswatini faces many challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. The country has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world, affecting about 27% of the adult population. The country also suffers from poverty, inequality, unemployment, corruption, and human rights violations. On the other hand, the country has potential for economic growth, social development, and regional integration. The country is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU). The country also has natural resources, such as coal, iron ore, diamonds, gold, and asbestos.

Read about the history Here…



The population

According to the Worldometer website, the current population of Eswatini is 1,213,277 as of September 19, 2023. The population is composed primarily of ethnic Swazis, who speak the Nguni language siSwati. The prevalent religion is Christianity, with 89.3% of the population identifying as Christians. The country has a high unemployment rate of 33.3% and a high poverty rate of 58.9%. The country also has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world, affecting about 27.9% of the adult population.

The landmarks

Eswatini has many natural and cultural attractions for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular landmarks include:

  • Hlane Royal National Park: This is the largest game reserve in the country and home to the largest herds of game, including lion, elephant, and rhino. Visitors can take guided game drives, mountain bike tours, birding walks, and overnight bush treks.
  • Swazi Cultural Village: This is a reconstructed traditional Swazi village that showcases the culture and history of the Swazi people. Visitors can watch cultural performances, learn about traditional crafts and customs, and interact with local guides.
  • Ngwenya Mine: This is the oldest mine in the world, dating back to around 43,000 years ago. It was a source of iron ore and ochre for ancient peoples. Visitors can explore the mine and see the Lion Cavern, where ancient miners left their tools and offerings.
  • Mbuluzi Game Reserve: This is a privately-owned reserve that offers a peaceful retreat on the banks of the Mlawula River. Visitors can see animals such as giraffe, zebra, kudu, wildebeest, and nyala on self-guided safaris. They can also hike, mountain bike, fish, and camp in the reserve.

The official language

The official languages of Eswatini are Swati (or Swazi) and English. Swati is a Southern Bantu language that is spoken by about 95% of Swazis. It is also one of the eleven official languages of South Africa. English is the medium of instruction in schools and the language of government and business.

The culture

Swazi culture is the way of life and customs of the Swazi people through various historical stages. The culture involves music, food, religion, architecture, and kinship, among many other things. The Swazi people are composed of various Nguni clans who trace their origins to a chief named Dlamini I, who lived in the 15th century. The country and the Swazi take their names from Mswati II, the 19th-century king who expanded and unified the country.

One of the most visible features of Swazi culture is the traditional political structure of the nation and the home. The country is one of the few remaining monarchies in Africa and embraces and upholds its own unique and ancient traditions. The king (Ngwenyama) is the head of state and the queen mother (Ndlovukati) is the spiritual leader of the nation. They preside over national cultural events such as umhlanga (the reed dance), emaganu (the marula festival), and incwala (the first fruits ceremony).

At home, the patriarch (umnumzane) is the head of the family and often practices polygamy. Each wife has her own hut and yard surrounded by reed fences. The homestead also has structures for sleeping, cooking, storage, and guest accommodation. Central to the homestead is the cattle byre (kraal), which has ritual as well as practical significance as a store of wealth and symbol of prestige.

Swazi culture also has a rich and diverse artistic heritage, influenced by its Bantu, Khoisan, and European roots. The country is known for its traditional arts and crafts, such as beadwork, pottery, weaving, wood carving, and painting. The country also hosts several cultural festivals that showcase music, dance, poetry, drama, and comedy.

The economic stability

Eswatini’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and trade. The country is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which provides most of its revenue from customs duties. However, this also makes it vulnerable to external shocks and fluctuations in SACU transfers.

Eswatini’s economic freedom score is 54.9 out of 100 in 2023 according to Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom report. This makes it rank 120th out of 180 countries in terms of economic freedom. The report notes that Eswatini’s economy suffers from weak rule of law, corruption, poor governance, and low competitiveness. It also highlights the challenges posed by high public debt, fiscal deficits, unemployment, poverty, inequality, and HIV/AIDS.

According to the IMF’s 2023 Article IV Consultation report, Eswatini’s real GDP growth is projected at 3.2% in 2023 and inflation is expected to stabilize at around 5%. The report notes that Eswatini faces downside risks from higher global inflation, weak growth in South Africa, and the difficult sociopolitical context. It also recommends that Eswatini should pursue fiscal consolidation, structural reforms, and social protection to enhance economic stability and resilience.


According to the World Bank, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Eswatini was $4.711 billion in 2018, ranking 159th in the world. The GDP per capita was $4,267, ranking 122nd in the world. The GDP growth rate was 0.5% in 2018, down from 1.9% in 2017. The main sectors contributing to the GDP were services (53.15%), industry (33.8%), and agriculture (8.77%). The main exports were soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit. The main imports were motor vehicles, machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, and chemicals.

The currency

The currency of Eswatini is the lilangeni (plural: emalangeni), which has the ISO 4217 code SZL and the symbol L or E. One lilangeni is subdivided into 100 cents. The lilangeni was introduced in 1974 at par with the South African rand, which is also accepted in Eswatini. The lilangeni is issued by the Central Bank of Eswatini and is authorized by the king and his family. The currency’s name derives from emaLangeni, a term used to describe the ancestors of the Swazi people who migrated to Eswatini in the 18th–19th centuries. As of September 20, 2023, one US dollar is equal to 18.75 emalangeni.

The food

The cuisine of Eswatini is largely determined by the seasons and the geographical region. Staple foods include sorghum and maize, often served with goat meat, a very popular livestock in the country. The farming industry mainly depends on sugar cane, tobacco, rice, corn, peanuts, and the exportation of goat meat and beef. Many Swazis are subsistence farmers who supplement their diet with food bought from markets. Produce and imports from coastal nations are also part of the cuisine of Eswatini. Some of the traditional foods of Eswatini are:

  • Umncushu: thick porridge made of samp (broken maize kernels) and beans, mashed together and mixed with ground peanuts.
  • Incwancwa: sour porridge made of fermented cornmeal.
  • Sitfubi: fresh milk cooked and mixed with cornmeal.
  • Siphuphe setindlubu: thick porridge made of mashed ground nuts.
  • Emasi etinkhobe temmbila: ground corn mixed with sour milk.
  • Emasi emabele: ground sorghum mixed with sour milk.
  • Sidvudvu: porridge made of pumpkin mixed with cornmeal.
  • Umncweba: dried uncooked meat (biltong).
  • Siphuphe semabhontjisi: thick porridge made of mashed beans.
  • Tinkhobe: boiled whole maize.
  • Umbidvo wetintsanga: cooked pumpkin tops (leaves) mixed with ground nuts.
  • Emahewu: meal drink made from fermented thin porridge.
  • Umcombotsi: traditional brewed beer.

Major cities

Eswatini is divided into four regions: Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, and Shiselweni. The capital city is Mbabane, while the country’s traditional and legislative capital is Lobamba. There are a few urban centers in the country housing a significant percentage of the population. However, the urban centers lack many modern amenities that are available in other major cities of the world. The three biggest urban centers in Eswatini are:

  • Manzini: This is the biggest city in Eswatini and the capital of the Manzini Region. It is nicknamed “The Hub” of Eswatini and is located on the MR3 road. The main industrial belt of the city is located on the western border of Manzini. The residential buildings radiate outwards from the Central Business District. There are pockets in the city with informal settlements and high poverty levels. Nazarene High School, a famous educational institution in the region, is located in Manzini. The Matsapha International Airport, the country’s only commercial airport, is located 10 km to the west of the city.
  • Mbabane: This is the capital city of Eswatini and the second most populous city in the country. It is also an important hub of commerce in the country. The city is based on on the banks of the Mbabane River and the Polinjane River, a tributary of the Mbabane River. Mbabane grew rapidly after the administrative center of the country was shifted to the city from Bremersdorp in 1902. Tourism and sugar export are the biggest industries operating here. Tin and iron mines are located close to the city, and there are also two sites for light industries here.
  • Big Bend: This is the third most populous urban center in Eswatini. The town is located on the banks of the Lusutfu River. Sugar plantations constitute the biggest industry in this town of Eswatini. The Edu-care Centre, Sisekelo High Schoo, and Ubombo Primary School are some of the important educational centers in Big Bend.

Major airport, sea port and schools

Eswatini is a landlocked country and does not have any sea ports. However, it has access to the Indian Ocean through Mozambique and South Africa. The main ports that serve Eswatini are Maputo in Mozambique and Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa. Eswatini has rail and road links with these ports for transporting goods and passengers.

Eswatini has two international airports: King Mswati III International Airport and Matsapha Airport. King Mswati III International Airport is located near Sikhuphe in the Lubombo Region. It was inaugurated in 2014 and replaced Matsapha Airport as the only international airport accepting commercial flights. It is designed to handle 360,000 passengers per year and can accommodate Boeing 747 aircraft. It is part of the king’s millennium project to enhance Eswatini’s position as a tourist destination. The airport is served by Airlink, which operates flights to Johannesburg, and Eswatini Air, which operates flights to Cape Town, Durban, Harare, and Johannesburg. Matsapha Airport is located near Manzini in the Manzini Region. It was the main airport of Eswatini until 2014, when it was taken over by the army. It still handles some domestic and charter flights.

Eswatini has a number of schools that provide primary, secondary, and tertiary education to its citizens. The education system follows a 7-3-2-2 structure, with seven years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, two years of senior secondary school, and two years of university or college. The official languages of instruction are siSwati and English. Some of the major schools in Eswatini are:

  • Waterford Kamhlaba United World College: This is an international school located in Mbabane. It is part of the United World Colleges movement that aims to promote intercultural understanding and peace through education. It offers the International Baccalaureate program for students aged 11 to 19 from over 60 countries.
  • University of Eswatini: This is the national university of Eswatini, established in 1982 by merging three existing institutions. It has three campuses: Kwaluseni Campus near Manzini, Luyengo Campus near Mbabane, and Mbabane Campus in Mbabane. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields such as agriculture, education, health sciences, humanities, science, social sciences, and engineering.
  • Southern Africa Nazarene University: This is a private university affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. It was established in 2010 by merging three existing colleges: Nazarene College of Nursing, Nazarene College of Education, and Nazarene College of Theology. It has one campus in Manzini and offers programs in nursing, education, theology, business administration, community health, environmental health, and information technology.