Swaziland’s minister of home affairs, Princess Tsandzile, has declared April 20 a public holiday, in honour of the birthday of King Mswati III.
“This effectively means Thursday (19 April) and Friday (20) April will be public holidays when the country will celebrate both the 50th birthday of His Majesty King Mswati III and 50 years since the country gained independence”, the minister announced in parliament late on Thursday.
“As the ministry of home affairs, we would like to inform the nation that since the 50/50 celebrations will be held on April 19, 2018, the following day (April 20) is declared a public holiday.”
The official further stated that April 25, which was normally a National Flag Day, would be a normal working day, since that holiday has been shifted to April 20.
Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarch won independence from +Britain in 1968 before King Mswati introduced a new parliamentary system in 1993 where citizens were allowed to vote for the first time to choose national assembly members.
The king introduced a new constitution in 2006, but he still controls the legislature.
Mswati, listed as the world’s 15th richest monarch by Forbes magazine, has courted controversy with a lavish lifestyle while two-thirds of Swazis live in poverty.
Unemployment is 40 percent and the prevalence of HIV among adults is the world’s highest.