D r Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini was born on 15 May 1942 at Endzingeni in the Hhohho region of Eswatini. The fourth child of Reverend John Dlamini and his wife Elizabeth, young Barnabas was named after Apostle Barnabas, an early church leader in the Christian faith.
At primary school level Barnabas attended Hhelehhele Primary School, before the family moved to Bulembu where his father had been sent by the Church of the Nazarene to start the Havelock Nazarene School, which was attended by young Barnabas up to the end of Grade Four. At the age of 10, he started as a boarder at Endzingeni Nazarene Primary School.
In early 1957 at the age of 14, he attended Bremersdorp (now Manzini) Nazarene Secondary School before moving on, two years later, to Franson Memorial Bible (now Franson Christian High) School where he excelled in mathematics, physics and chemistry.
Although a diligent scholar at high school, his undergraduate career at Pius XII University College in Basutoland (now Lesotho) did not suit Barnabas and a year later in 1962 he returned to Endzingeni Nazarene Primary School to teach Science.
But, as an ambitious young man, now developing a clearer view of his future career he obtained a position in water chemistry at Usuthu Pulp Company in Bhunya, later joining the Edwaleni Hydro-Electric Project as a Power Station Operator. Determined, however, to develop his academic qualifications, Barnabas applied for, and received, a scholarship, funded by the United States government, which took him first to the University of Rochestor in the United States of America with the intention of qualifying for a future career in medicine. Mid-course, Barnabas Dlamini chose a change in direction and applied his science background and skills to a degree course in industrial chemistry in which he later obtained a degree from the University of Wisconsin, having completed the four year course in three years.
On his return to Eswatini, he joined Swaziland Iron Ore Development Company (SIODC) as an assistant chemist rising through the ranks to become Metallurgical Superintendent, which included substantial operational management responsibilities. Aware of the benefit of an all-round academic and professional skills set and status,
Barnabas also studied at night to obtain a degree in Commerce, through distance learning with the University of South Africa.
Aware of the need to move on in his career he then signed up for articles with Coopers and Lybrand (now part of Pricewaterhouse Coopers) and gaining extensive audit experience. Then, in 1978, Barnabas Dlamini was appointed as a Senator for parliament by King Sobhuza II and, after serving his five year term, he was awarded a scholarship to obtain Master in Business Administration (MBA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualifications at New York University Business School in the United States.
On his return to Eswatini in 1982, he was admitted as a partner in Coopers and Lybrand, and then a year later embarked on what would be a permanent political career when appointed as a member of the House of Assembly. Appointment to the position of Minister of Finance followed in 1984, a position he held until 1992 when he was recruited by the International Monetary Fund, in due course serving as Executive Director with responsibility for 22 countries in Africa.
In 1996, he was appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, a position he held until 2003 after which he served for five years on the Swaziland National Council (now Liqoqo). Called back to the position of Prime Minister in 2008, he served for a further two terms until 2018. During his illustrious career Barnabas Dlamini received many awards which included an Honorary Doctorate in 1992 from the University of Swaziland (now Eswatini) and the Royal Order of Eswatini First Class in 2016.
He married Jane Matsebula in 1970, a lady who passed away in December 2012. Together they had three children. In November 2017, Dr Barnabas Dlamini married Gugu Primrose Simelane. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In the last two years of his life he fought cancer to which, on 28 September 2018, he succumbed after a long and courageous struggle. He will also be remembered as a devout Christian, devoted family man and dedicated, hardworking public servant, loyal throughout his life to King and country.