Category: Swaziland 2016

"You can have a virgin wife for 18 of me."

Swaziland: Trading Cows for Virgins…The Bride-Prize

Last night in a hostel in Mbabane, Swaziland, I ended up in a fascinating conversation with a couple of locals, Denzel and Anna.  According to Swaziland tradition, a bride-prize is required to marry a virgin here (virgin often defined by “not having children” rather than “not having penetration” in Swaziland). A “Bride-Prize” is 18 cows that you must give to the father of the girl you want to marry.  If she is a princess, the price is 35 cows.  I...

Kids are made out of rubber.  Could you imagine sleeping like that?!

Swaziland to Lesotho: The Renegade Bus

March 24 Swaziland, a country where your mini-bus driving 80 km/h uses no signals to pass a police car in a 40 km/h zone.  Actually, we nearly rear-ended the police car because we were driving so fast… No issues.  No second guessing… I have met a guy here who has never ever heard of McDonald’s.  That is amazing.  That is beautiful! Swaziland is a safe country.  They still have the death penalty here, but hearsay is that no one has...

Bulembu, the asbestos mine houses.

Bulembu: Abandoned Asbestos Mining Ghost-Town

March 23 Swaziland is far more developed than I ever would have guessed.  It sort of feels ahead of South Africa, though it has its crazy, charming traditional ways that it hangs onto.  I was expecting grass skirts and grass huts here.  Instead, it is huge supermarkets, strip malls and restaurants that could be in Europe.  Yea, in Swaziland.  I know.  It is weird for me too… Oh, and another weird thing for me is how people call money “bucks”...

Just sitting here, wasting away.

The 43,000 Year Old Iron Ore Mine in Ngwenya

March 22 Here, try this.  Here is a handy-dandy set of helper words if you are about to arrive in Swaziland! It was misting all day, but I really wanted to get out of the hostel and see some of Swaziland, so I made a decision to catch two different minivan taxis to a town called Ngwenya where the oldest known iron ore mine in the world exists.  People have been mining from the mountain for 43,000 years.  That is...

Hooves.

Johannesburg to Mbabane: Trying Witch-Doctor Potions

March 21 I said goodbye to Maritza in the morning and then Toby drove me into the center of Johannesburg.  The city is a massive, sprawling, urban area built of clusters of suburbs.  There are huge areas of population and then there are green areas with a forest. Then, another patch of city. The, more forest as you blast through it all on a freeway at 120 km/h.  Johannesburg is a very pretty. .Toby and I went to “The Museum...