Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Road Renovation

As Bulembu continues to grow and develop the towns old infrastructure continues to be upgraded to meet the growing needs of the community.  In the last year the Bulembu leadership has worked to overhauled most of the electrical, water and sewage.  Next on the list - the roads.  Road maintenance has had to take a bit of a backseat in the last few years, which has left tourists, visitors and the rest of the community experiencing a bit of a bumpy ride.

One visitor in particular who spent a few days in Bulembu in 2008 saw the deteriorating roads and new he could do something about it.  With a generous donation from this individual, the maintenance team has begun to overhaul the main Bulembu road which is 5.1km long. This project, which started this year and will be finished in 2011, is important because it will be securing a  vital deteriorating asset. The benefit  will save thousands of dollars a month on vehicle repairs (suspension, etc.)  Roads might not always be something you think about when we talk about restoring Bulembu to a self-sustaining community, but for the residents of the community and those who have dedicated themselves to the Bulembu vision everything that help make the journey to 2020 smoother is always a step in the right direction. 

                                     One of the roads in Bulembu being repaired

                                                 Bulembu road-works team

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ngwenya Sobhuza II

Last week Swaziland celebrated the birthday of the Great King Sobhuza II. But exactly was this great King? Sobhuza II was born in Zombodza, Swaziland on the 22 July 1899. Initially Sibhuza was named Nkhotfontjeni which means “Stone Lizard”. However, when he reigned as King of Swaziland in his later years, he was named ‘Ngwenyama’ which means ‘Lion’.  His grandmother, Labotsibeni  became regent while he was still young, during a time when there was incredible strife between the Swazis and the British. In 1903 the Swazi nation fell under British control as a protectorate. This meant that Swaziland lost autonomy and communication with other countries, but would receive protection by the British.  Four years later a British commissioner arrived in Swaziland and commanded that 63% of Swazi land belong to Europeans. A large amount of Swazis then found themselves not living on Swazi National Land and had to relocate. They were given 5 years to move from their homes otherwise they were forced to leave. This was not a great place for a country to be in and Labotsibeni was determined that the following king would regain full control of Swaziland.
His grandmother knew that she had to think of something to get Swaziland back…

The matriarch knew that the only way to regain control of all land in Swaziland was to groom the new king to be able to communicate and understand the European ways as well as the African. With that in mind, Sibhuza went to Swazi primary and secondary schools with teachers that were flown in from north America and then attending the Lovedale college in South Africa.
When Sobhuza II became king of Swaziland in 1921 he brought hope that the country could be restored. However, for this hope to be realized, the King had to overcome a number of major obstacles.  The Swazi King immediately challenged the 1907 partition by the British High Commissioner. He flew to Britain to meet with King George V and petitioned him to restore the land, but his request was refused. This response did not take away from the King’s unwavering determination. Subhuza proved to be an excellent politician and over time won back Swaziland’s full independence, although it wasn’t until 1968 - a victorious and watershed moment in the history of Swaziland. A resident of Bulembu recalls King Subhuza and says “His people loved him. He called his people to the royal kraal to discuss country issues, he built dams for irrigation and most importantly he brought the country back from British rule and brought peace and stability.”