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Swazi­land’s in­de­pen­dence lib­er­ated many neigh­bours, ev­i­dent in pos­i­tive sen­ti­ments re­spond­ing to my face­book post. By South African Swazi fam­i­lies nur­tured in Swazi­land, af­firm­ing this coun­try’s pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to their suc­cess. The lead­er­ship of King Sob­huza II—re­mem­bered with fond­ness and he is a hero to many South African fam­i­lies who lived in Swazi­land. King Sob­huza II is not a hero to the ‘so called’ Swazi democrats who are in ex­ile, and they also ex­pressed their views on my face­book page.

As a na­tion builder, I pro­vide space for dif­fer­ing views and I re­spect­fully dis­agree with those who be­lieve democ­racy can only be de­fined ac­cord­ing to western prin­ci­ples, in­trigu­ing and emo­tive in­de­pen­dence de­bate.

As I have no reser­va­tions in firmly ex­press­ing how ex­ten­sive the re­search I am cur­rently con­duct­ing in crit­i­cal knowl­edge cre­ation and pro­duc­tion to­wards indige­nous gov­er­nance sys­tems re­flect­ing indige­nous dig­nity. To­day, this col­umn shares how in­de­pen­dence lib­er­ates neigh­bours the Mozam­bi­can ex­pe­ri­ence, the jour­ney of Clau­d­ina Da Cen­ce­icao Sao Mart­inho, now proudly Swazi cit­i­zen, pop­u­larly known as Dina.


Dina orig­i­nates from a lo­ca­tion in Ma­puto, with hum­ble be­gin­nings and Swazi con­nec­tion. Her great-grand­fa­ther Khu­malo a Swazi from Lom­a­hasha, hence her grand­mother LaKhu­malo grounded them with African val­ues. She taught them how to sit tight and not ex­pose her body to all and sundry, val­ues she still main­tains even to­day. Dina car­ried wa­ter on her head, grind­ing mealie meal with ‘ibethal’ hand ma­chine, grind­ing sorghum and mil­let on the grind­ing stone ‘ im­bokodvo.’ Gogo Khu­malo taught her how to brew tra­di­tional beer, umqom­botsi, paw and pineap­ple and serve cus­tomers fried fish, as this was their source of in­come.

This African child slept on the grass mat with other chil­dren, some were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing bed wet­ting, but this was part of life.

At school Dina was good in Maths, this skill has helped her as a busi­ness­woman through­out her life. She used to carry ‘Skhokho’ I call Swazi pizza base, the crust from the mealie pot, for school lunch and drink lots of wa­ter. Dina learnt ‘kub­hadza’ from her ex­pe­ri­ence in build­ing mud huts as part of her child­hood mem­o­ries, as she was raised in a mud hut.

As the eldest of this ex­tended fam­ily, Dina had to sac­ri­fice, leav­ing school at the age of 13 years and started work­ing in a fac­tory. Two years later, she got mar­ried at age 15 to Joaguim De Oleveira Sao Mart­inho who was 23 years, her mother re­fused they eloped.

She re­turned to her home as her hus­band wanted to know her fam­ily and also con­trib­ute in im­prov­ing their liveli­hood. When start­ing out, she first learnt dress mak­ing from a Por­tuguese lady but this was not her pas­sion. Hair dress­ing is where she found her pas­sion as an­other Por­tuguese lady taught her, be­fore the war.

Mov­ing to Swazi­land

When war erupted, this cou­ple moved to Swazi­land, and lived with LaSit­hole mar­ried to a Por­tuguese man in Shis­el­weni on a cot­ton farm. They had food and shel­ter, whilst be­ing pro­tected from the Swazi­land po­lice for they were il­le­gal im­mi­grants. Whilst liv­ing with LaSit­hole and fam­ily, her hus­band build a house, thank­ing this fam­ily for their gen­eros­ity.

Later they moved to Manzini, where they were once ar­rested for be­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grats. But a Lawyer, Babe Dlamini helped them reg­is­ter as refugees and got jobs, moved into a flat with no fur­ni­ture but used card boxes as sleep­ing mats, and the cof­fee ta­ble was a car tyre. Even­tu­ally they were able to send food home, meet­ing her moth-

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