Swazi Uprising: The Exclusive WordPress Interview

WordPress.com is always on the lookout for rising blogs and one of this week’s eye catchers is a new blog known simply as swaziapril12zing.wordpress.com. We got hold of the people behind this blog and had them tell us their story. Why they created the blog and the message they wanted to send out.

WordPress: Welcome to the blogging world. What, in particular made you start this blog?

SwaziUprising: Circumstances. I was part of a committee of individuals who had gotten together to spearhead what has now come to be known as the 12th April Swazi uprising. So I was mandated to create and manage the blog as a source of information and opinion on the uprising.

WordPress: Can you give us a bit of a background on the uprising. What informs it and what do you hope to achieve with it?

SwaziUprising: We are basically carrying forth a mandate that began in 1973 when the Swazi king seized all political powers and rendered all Swazi citizens useless subjects who would only be spectators as he and his family ran the country. We are the generation that is saying NO MORE!

WordPress: Have the popular uprisings in North Africa inspired you in any way?

SwaziUprising: Absolutely. We could have chosen any other time to do this but the uprisings in North Africa were a boon because they essentially gave us a lot of courage and determination. There are countries like Bahrain and Oman that were virtually unknown to the world until a few weeks ago. They put themselves on the map for the right reasons. And with Bahrain we have so many similarities, because Bahrain is also an absolute monarchy like Swaziland.

WordPress: We’ve seen similar calls in other Southern Africa countries like Zimbabwe where social networks were used to publicise an uprising but on the day in question nothing happened. How is your own uprising different? Do you think that the people will rise or will they follow the Zimbabwean example?

SwaziUprising: Two very different scenarios. For starters Zimbabweans are in a period of transition. It might not seem that way to the press outside but the reality is that they are in such a period. Zimbabweans were able to effectively vote the ZANU PF government out in the last elections.

Having done that, their last act was to push ZANU out by force because it had refused to accept the people’s choice. We can argue about whether or not MDC is the right party for Zimbabwe but we cannot argue about the fact that they were the legitimate party to form a government.

Seeing that the people were about to revolt the AU and the SADC force ZANU and MDC to create this unity government which is in fact a transition government. So Zimbabweans are still watching and hoping that in the next elections they will be able to get the other half of government which was effectively stolen by ZANU.

This is totally different from Swaziland. Swazis have nothing to lose, everything to gain from their uprising. Moreover, the Swazi economy is in tatters. There is no hope for it. Civil servants know too well that they will soon not be paid their salaries. So I would say that the Swazi uprising is a more genuine, more urgent call for action and the people have nothing to lose.

WordPress: Okay, some people are of the opinion that you are all talk and that you have not laid any ground work. Is that true or false?

SwaziUprising: That is not only a myth; it is the work of security agents. One thing you should be careful of in this line of work is the tendencies of intelligence agents.

Intelligence agents will deliberately give out information to the press that they think you will rush to counter, in the process of countering that information you reveal your strategies.

So, I will not reveal the depth of the work we are currently doing but if you have read the latest reports on the Teachers Union, SNAT (Swaziland National Association of Teachers) and their plan to revolt and send the government packing then you will understand just how seriously we have taken our duty as an organising committee.

We are not playing. We are as serious as the state of the country’s economy. And if you know how serious that is then you will know just how serious we are. In the coming weeks, which we view as crucial, you will be hearing more such stories. People are angry and ready for action

WordPress: What would you like to say to readers of this blog and any Swazis fortunate enough to get hold of this interview?

SwaziUprising: All I would like to say to them is that they should prepare to govern. Tinkhundla, or whatever this royal mess is called, is well and truly over. Come April 12 we will be sweeping its remains off our country.

What we need now are serious minded people who will not be afraid to chart out a new path for our country. We do not have time to waste. We cannot be sitting around fires debating. We know the exact path that we need to take and it is a path that must undo the failures of the previous system.

If we can grasp that concept then our uprising will not be in vain. For starters we need a true democracy. We need people to be involved in the running of the country. They must speak out and be heard. Secondly we need to redistribute the wealth. If we do not so that then we will only be creating a platform for our old enemy to regroup.

Let us have that education system running as soon as possible, with all children in school. Let our health system be functional from the word go and let us indicate that we have genuine change by making it run efficiently and smoothly. The money saved from funding the royal family: the very greedy royal family, will be used to fund all these expenses in education and health – and all other social expenditures. Students will have their scholarships back. We vouch that.

We will inherit the worst health system in Africa but that means that we have less pressure. We must chart a way to make it the best within a given timeframe. We have to create an egalitarian society. If we do not so that then we are doomed. We might as well have just allowed the king to continue wrecking the economy.

Oh, and another thing: All the king’s palaces that he has been building with state funds recently, we want to turn those into clinics. All of them. If any are close to existing clinics, we will turn them into schools and children’s villages.

We are not playing. We are not Libyans who have time to burn Gaddafi’s palaces. We are not a wasteful people by nature. We are actually already speaking to draughtsmen and architects who will tell us how to convert these buildings into the desired clinics and hospitals as soon as possible.

WordPress: Thank you and I hope you achieve your aims.

SwaziUprising: Thanks to you.

This interview was help on the 6th of March 2011, via telephone.

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About swaziuprising

Freedom fighter, revolutionary, poet, people's scholar.
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