While chatting to our lovely customers at the markets and telling them about the upheavals in the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) many remarked that they had seen nothing of this in the news. We work with two projects in the country, Quazi Designs who create the wonderful recycled magazine range (the ladies are hard at work in the pic) and Tintsaba, the makers of our Sisal collection.
Things were already difficult with covid but in June this year, the cover up of a death of a student at the hands of the police sparked protests which turned violent when the security forces started killing protestors. Years of pent up frustration about the lavish lifestyle of the absolute monarch King Mswati and his autocratic style of ruling in the face of the poverty in the country spilled over into burning his properties and looting businesses he has a stake in.
Democratic forces within the country have been working hard with regional organisations such as SADC to get the king to negotiate reforms to allow multi party elections, but he is digging in his heels and life continues to be precarious for the hundreds of artisans we work with there.