Swaziland

Trip Start Jan 19, 2009
1
16
38
Trip End Ongoing


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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A very small kingdom between South Africa and Mozambique, that you can cross in 2 hours. A king that has more than 100 wives and chose a new one every year during a ceremony where all the maidens of the country dance in front of him, hoping to be chosen... A kingdom where the media cannot criticize the King and his actions/decisions...

I was not sure of what to expect of Swaziland. As beautiful as Lesotho? As developed as South Africa? Not really.

Some areas are probably beautiful but not so easily accessible without a car and I did not spend time out of the main touristic roads, which seemed to me like an extension of South Africa.
One noticeable place I really liked is the "House on Fire". A place where shows and concerts take place, decorated by a British artist with the help of local artists in a Gaudi+Dali style, mosaics, eccentric towers, lights, crazy toilets... it's fun everywhere!

Luckily, I had the chance to reunite for a few days with my "Clown without Borders" friend Sibongile, and follow the association action in the country. With a group of Yale University students and a Swazi performing arts group (People Educational Theatre) they were creating and performing Clown shows for schools in the remote and poor areas in the South of country. Drought, no running water, hunger, HIV/AIDS... the children (and adults) have tough times there.
In a week they performed the shows for more than 5000 children. Very funny shows I have to say; not the boring-made for 5 years old- type of shows. Sibongile is an incredible clown! The children were having so much fun (and so did I). I hope to be able to join her on stage next time...
In parallel, workshops with orphans were taking place in the afternoon, similar to what I experienced in Lesotho with them. They aim at providing emotional relief through play and laughter to the orphans.
This gave me more insight on the country "real" life; outside of the touristic places. And to meet very interesting Swazi friends from the Performing Arts association.

But I was also called by Mozambique and the prospect of beautiful beaches, huge prawns and a more "latin" touch country...


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