The Kingdom of Swaziland

At the time of our visit .. a large modern highway was being constructed, cutting a swathe across the countryside. Our first and lasting impressions of the country were that it was proudly holding onto its traditional African culture and dress, in a similar way to northern West African countries.

We stayed the night at the welcoming and thoroughly enjoyable Backpackers Hostel in Matsapha .. since sadly closed .. and next day, visited the local craft market.

Swaziland is an excellent place for those interested in African arts and crafts .. with many ladies involved in making
jewellery , mostly from indigenous seeds, Czech and Indian glass.

A typical piece made using Czech glass rocailles .. on sale

A law requiring the wearing of red tassels by girls under the age of consent .. denoting their purity and unavailability.. had been introduced by King Mswati III a few months before our visit.
This was in an effort to curb promiscuity and the problematic spread of AIDS, but unfortunately soon afterwards, the King himself fell foul of his own
law, which was finally abandoned in 2005.

Skilfully weaving shopping baskets from strips of brightly coloured plastic