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Africa's Game of Thrones

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posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 05:55 PM

Imagine a mountainous kingdom at the edge of a lush, tropical continent, where one house has clung to power for hundreds of years. The aged king passed away after ruling for more than six decades in one of history's longest reigns. He fathered more than 200 children but left no heir, unleashing an epic struggle between the queen regent and a handful of challengers in the royal court. Eventually, a 14-year-old boy, the product of one of the king’s hundreds of illegitimate affairs, was chosen as successor, and his mother was wedded to the dead leader’s corpse to legitimize the plot. Selected as a puppet, the new king quickly outgrew his courtiers and became notoriously cruel and corrupt.

Today, the new king rules from a castle and employs a royal guard to protect his 15 wives. He often picks a new wife in a national festival each summer where his servants round up tens of thousands of the most beautiful young virgins from all across the land. There, they dance shirtless, and the king examines each one, choosing his next bride.

This is a feudal society where the majority of the population are poor farmers, tilling land supervised by the royal palace. Through his relationships with foreigners, the king earns plenty of coin, but hardly any of it trickles down to the poor. Although surrounded by spectacular and exotic plants and animals, the king's subjects suffer from a lack of basic goods and modern medicine. More than one in four adults is afflicted with an incurable, often-fatal disease.

His Majesty has no rivals. Under his banner of a golden lion, he dictates the future of his people after chatting with his small council. Political parties are illegal, and any defiance or criticism of the royal family is outlawed. Even insulting the king’s name is liable to be punished by imprisonment. The king controls all feudal lands and local barons, along with the court system, press, police, and army. Any who choose not to bow their heads to his decree are rewarded with a stay in the royal dungeons, where a pair of leg irons, or worse—an ancient and excruciating form of foot torture—is the punishment of choice.

Considered the father of his people, the king’s legitimacy rests on ritual and superstition. To protect himself against demons, the king imbibes charms and potions. His royal court and ministers routinely grovel on the ground. If His Majesty deigns fit to visit a subject’s home, the chair in which he sits must be destroyed—or else, it is feared, an evil sorcerer might attack him.

We who write this are not on the production team of HBO’s Game of Thrones. We work in a human-rights organization in 2014. Yet we could be describing King’s Landing. Regrettably, however, this is no tale from Westeros: It is an accurate description of Africa’s last absolute monarchy, a tiny country near the continent’s southeastern coast called Swaziland.

Apart from North Korea or some small isolated tribe in Africa, I could not imagine there would be whole countries left, where such a system still exists. A very interesting, eye-opening, while at the same time, sad article to read. A system like that should not exist in the 21st century.

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 06:12 PM
I guess it's easy to judge Swaziland, or to find some customs somewhat bizarre.

It's rather small, and the people are conservative and loyal to the king.
In fact, many of them are somehow related to the king.
They seem quite satisfied with their tribal laws and the king's resolution of disputes.

Yes, one hears there is political oppression to an extent, and some calls for more democracy from unions and activists.

These calls have never inspired an overwhelming sentiment or revolution.

Democratic South Africa borders on Swaziland, and they see us as somewhat barbaric (although many Swazis work and live in SA).
They don't have our levels of violent crime.
edit on 20-4-2014 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 06:18 PM
You don't need to look half way around the world to find a corrupt government. I could argue Washington DC is a more accurate depiction of a true Kings Landing.

Everything described in the article happens all over the world, but the western world pats itself on the back because they go to great lengths to conceal their corruption and make it look legit under the guise of democracy.

edit on 20-4-2014 by Innermost because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 07:45 PM
South Africa actually has many tribal areas and royal monarchs.

They still receive handsome government (taxpayer) salaries today, and they did so in colonial times, and under apartheid.

The Marxist liberation movements once called them tribalist "sell-outs" and traitors, although some key revolutionaries, like Nelson Mandela came from royal tribal families.

After the fall of apartheid, they were quickly embraced with open arms by the ANC.
They mean relatively little outside rural areas however, although many are seen as repositories of traditional values.

What is more concerning is the trend of former liberation movements (who supposedly fought for democracy) to instill themselves as "royalty" and emperors for life - even by force if democracy suddenly turns against them.
Robert Mugabe is a good example, and the ANC has supported this and used some very concerning language, for example, that they will rule until Jesus comes back.
edit on 20-4-2014 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 08:16 PM
I think I could make a case for the fact, that the only difference between the tribal leaders and western politicians is the way they dress for work...

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 09:09 PM
The Lanisters send their regards....

200 kids! Atta boy...that would be difficult to sort through who should be the proper heir

posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 01:06 AM
Swaziland... I saw a documentary about it.
Well, I think we have no right to criticize their traditions and system as long as they do tolerate this.
Some people accept something like this, without wanting to be free. As long as the people are happy and it is working out for them, fine... their life

If you think about Papua New Guinea, there it is even worse (according to our world view) they still have cannibal tribes.
Somewhere, I forgto where, in Africa you can go to certain, of course illegal, restaurants and get human bodyparts served. A head was about 40$ if I recall correctly.
So a monarchy with torture is the smaller of the evils if you ask me.
And to be fair, they have at least no war, like so many other African countries.
I just realized Swaziland is only on place 141 on the human development index. There are countries that are way worse, that we somehow consider more developed.
I would never have thought that this is more developed than Pakistan.
edit on 21-4-2014 by aLLeKs because: (no reason given)

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