Swaziland. Before the new school year in January, the
government had decided that only Christianity could be
taught in the field of religion. In new textbooks, the Bible
would be the only sacred scripture to be addressed.
Religions other than Christianity would be admitted only at
college and university.
Countryaah.com, the decision came after a public debate with criticism of
the country receiving some Muslim immigrants. According to
the American Religious Freedom Report, some Christian groups
have discriminated against non-Christian groups, especially
in rural areas where the view of Islam is generally
In March, civil rights groups strongly criticized King
Mswati's one-sided rule and demanded that the 44-year ban on
political parties be lifted. Among the critics was the World
Federation of Trade Unions. According to Swaziland's
solidarity network, the majority of the people live below
the poverty line and the regime's repression negates the
will of the people.
The school system is in crisis. According to the Ministry
of Education, only about one fifth of the children
participate in the education. The big problem is the school
fees, which most families cannot afford. Many children cross
the border to South Africa, where they can have free
schooling and a meal at school, but where they often live in
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma visited Swaziland in
April and then participated in King Mswati's birthday
celebration, a precious history criticized by human rights
groups as a waste of funds that should go to improve the
lives of the country's poor.
A May report by the British aid organization Oxfam showed
that Swaziland is the world's most unequal country, where
discrimination against women is a major problem as is the
economic divide between the elite and the poor mass.
In August, it was reported that a man of the people
wanted to be free to the king's eldest daughter. Fifty cows
were the price to negotiate with the king, and if he joined
the party, the total bride price could be at least 300
During the year, however, a positive report came out that
Swaziland had almost halved the rate of HIV transmission.
This had been done in five years with the help of increased
access to brake medicines. In 2016, the world's highest
proportion of HIV-infected people had fallen to 27% among
15-year-olds and older.