Kingdom of Swaziland


And so to the Kingdom of Swaziland, the country of my childhood.


I lived there as a child, until the age of about 11 – the age my son is now.

I can still clearly remember attending independence celebrations at the age of 5 when Swaziland was granted independence from Britain.

We learnt from Wikipedia that Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/Aids in the world.

On Youtube we watched the reed dances and talked about how the young virgins come every year to dance for the king. As a polygamist, very often he will select a new wife from among the young virgins.

news_20120712 reed dance

We discussed the Sangoma and Inyanga – traditional diviners and healers. The Sangoma is the diviner who will often go into a trance, and is consulted on matters of death and crimes. The Inyanga is a herbalist and pharmacist – a traditional healer.

Swaziland is rich in the creative arts, and we ‘visited’ the Swazi candle factory, where the most stunning decorated candles are crafted, and also watched a Youtube video of glass blowing at the Ngwenya Glass Factory.

swazi candles       swazi glass

We plan to make some Swazi food for supper this evening.

We will enjoy Harira, a mutton dish. These are the directions for making it:


  • 1 pound mutton
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • cooked rice
  • cooked chickpeas
  • one spring parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper


  • Cut mutton in small pieces and roll into balls.
  • Place in pot of boiling water.
  • Add butter and simmer two hours.
  • After you put the butter add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook and mix often until the mixture boils again.
  • Then roast ten minutes.
  • Serve it very hot in rice bowls.

On the side, we will add an avocado salad, with lemon juice, and spiced with ginger.

YUM!! Sounds good!

NEXT STOP:  Mozambique




And so begins our adventure … AFRICA – second biggest continent in the world, with over 50 countries, hundreds of ethnic groups and many different religions and ways of life.

Home to the Sahara, the world’s biggest desert, and also the Nile, the world’s longest river.

A continent rich in culture and natural resources – home also to the world’s biggest goldfield, and the nesting place of the world’s largest diamonds.

Yet also a continent torn by conflict and civil war, and ravaged by famine, poverty and Aids …

Journey with us and discover … AFRICA.

Lesotho – Kingdom in the Sky


First stop on our journey into Africa – today we travelled into the majestic mountains of Lesotho, a landlocked country within the borders of South Africa.


We learned that Lesotho is unique, being the only nation in the world with all of its land situated more than 3,280 feet (one thousand meters) above sea level.

We talked about the traditional huts, which are constructed with walls and floors of mud and dung, with thatched roofs.


We studied the flag, and learned that the white is symbolic for peace ( khotso ), blue for rain ( pula ), and green for plenty ( nala ).

The conical hat depicted in the centre of the flag is that worn by both men and women. It is usually worn with the wool Basotho blanket, regardless of the season.


We learnt that the small, sturdy Sotho pony is to be seen everywhere in Lesotho, and is adept at negotiating the steep mountains.

Cattle represent wealth in Lesotho and the Basotho value cows above money – often motorists are forced to stop while a wandering cow completes its business.

A great number of Lesotho’s population work in the coal and gold mines in South Africa, and it is left to the young boys and older men to herd livestock and cultivate the land.

Next stop: Swaziland

WORLD! Here we come!


I recently read a blog (can’t remember where), of a home-schooling Mom who is travelling the globe with her young son, learning as they go along – what I wouldn’t give to be able to just pack up and hit the road like that! What an awesome experience it must be!

Since that is not our destiny, our travels will have to be courtesy of the internet and the library. Sigh!!

We begin our much-anticipated literary trip around the world this term. As we  journey, I will try to document our travels and share the links and resources we use along the way.

Since we live in South Africa, we will start with the land-locked countries within South Africa – Swaziland and Lesotho.

After that …

Jambo … Bom Dia … Bonjour … Salaam Aleikum … Hello AFRICA!!!

What a winner!


So proud of my boy!

Even though he hates writing (handwriting that is), when he saw an article in the local paper advertising a short story writing competition for children, he immediately sat down and wrote a story. The closing date at that stage was only a couple of days away, so he really had to knuckle down to complete it, and we got the entry in with hours to spare.

His (unusual) motivation came from the fact that the prize was a R450 gift book voucher – a tantalising carrot for a boy who can never get enough books!

What a thrilling surprise when we received notification that he had won his age and language category in the inaugural Skryfnet (Just Write) competition!

A couple of weeks ago, we were privileged to meet the organiser of the competition, Dr Owen Msimango, a dentist (originally from Soweto) now living in the UK. He was in South Africa briefly to meet the winners and present the prizes. He has an awesome vision to promote literature and writing skills amongst young South Africans.


One of the judges, author Michael Sears, posted an article about the competition, including my son’s winning entry, on this site: