Swaziland is an independent nation in Southern Africa that occupies an area of 17,364 square km and has an estimated population of 1,343,098. Swaziland is named after Mswati II, a king who unified and expanded the country during the nineteenth century.
Although data on the religious populations in Swaziland varies by source, Christianity is accepted the predominant religion. According to some sources, Christianity is believed to be followed by over 80% of the population.
The Religions Practiced in Swaziland
Christianity in Swaziland
Christianity was introduced in Swaziland in 1825 during the reign of Mswati II. King Mswatti II invited Christian missionaries to his kingdom and the Methodist Wesleyan Mission was the first church established in the area in 1844. Initially, missionaries had little success in their attempts to Christianise the land, and the popularity of Christianity grew slowly. Soon, other Christian denominations also started gaining popularity in the country, and Christian holidays are now national holidays in Swaziland. Swazis also incorporate certain tenets of traditional religions in their everyday lives as Christians. Ancestral worship, singing, dancing, and iconography are all incorporated in the Christianity practiced in Swaziland.
Swazi Religion in Swaziland
The Swazi religion refers to the traditional African beliefs and practices of the Swazi people. It instills belief in a supreme creator, ancestral and other spirits, and various indigenous rituals and ceremonies. Important life events like births, deaths, and marriages are celebrated according to indigenous customs and often involve animal sacrifices. The incwala is a national ritual that involves the participation of a country's king. It is celebrated with the aim of pleasing the gods for good rains in the coming year and thanking the gods for positive happenings of the previous year.
Other Religions of Swaziland
Other religions practiced in Swaziland include Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and the Baha'i Faith. Followers of these religions are predominantly immigrants from other countries who primarily live in urban areas of the country. Many of the Muslims in Swaziland can trace their origins to the indentured workers who were brought to work in Swaziland by colonists.