Understanding the Cultural Boycott

We would like to first and foremost thank the SSN, the ANCYL and all participating South African artists for their remarkable work with the Cultural Boycott. In the long run, people will be able to recognise just how crucial this boycott is to the liberation of the country.

However, there are some misconceptions about the cultural boycott that need to be addressed if it is to have the desired political result in the country.

The first of these misconceptions is that the pro-democracy movement is “anti-fun” and wants all Swazis to be always indoors, preferably reading political material. This is not true. As Swazis we know just how much a few minutes of fun can alleviate the stress that is caused by living in a poverty stricken and undemocratic country.

People must continue to have clean fun in Swaziland. We do not need foreign artists to have fun. Let local artists seize the opportunity now and make the most of it to market their work. The SSN is also organising a big weekend-long “mother of all festivals” specifically for Swazis, which will take place in South Africa soon.

Another misconception is that the cultural boycott is limited to stopping South African artists from coming to the country. This is not true. The best instance of the cultural boycott this year was when poor peasants simply refused to go and weed king Mswati’s fields.
We are honest enough to state that we do not think that those peasants were following our campaign, which they might not even know about. We believe that they were just wise enough to know that they were being abused. For that, we salute them.

The next few weeks will be crucial for us in terms of making people aware of the gross misuse of Swazi “culture” for political reasons by the king. We will need every one of us to take the time to speak with their friends and relatives and make them see the evil intent behind the mass ritual known as Incwala. It must be boycotted.

The last misconception is that the boycott is “uniquely Swazi”. This is not true. Cultural boycotts are older than all teenagers. The world successfully mobilised one against Apartheid South Africa in the eighties and a very strong cultural boycott is currently being waged against Apartheid Israel. In other words, we are not alone in this.

As the cultural boycott intensifies, we hope that our operatives will remember that this is a political statement aimed at the ruling regime, which however, will only be effective if the people understand what we are doing. Let us counter government propaganda, which portrays us as being unpatriotic and unSwazi. Everything that we do, we do for the good of all Swazis.


About swaziuprising

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