• Pray for those bound by ancestor worship and the occult to find freedom in Jesus Christ.
• Pray for healthy marriages and sexual purity to loosen the grip of HIV/AIDS over the nation.
• Pray for the purification of the Church from all cultural sins.
The Kingdom of Eswatini is one of Africa’s smallest nations and one of the world’s last absolute monarchies. It is a landlocked country bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. This nation is filled with natural beauty shown through its people, diverse landscapes, and cultural traditions. Despite western influences, Eswatini’s culture has remained intact. The Swazi people often wear colorful traditional clothing — a two piece outfit with bold print. The distinct shape of a person’s hut reveals their tribal identity. The two main languages are Swazi and English, and most of the population live in rural areas as subsistence farmers.
Eswatini gained independence from Britain in 1968 under Sobhuza who reigned from 1921 to 1982. King Mswati III became ruler four years later, and continues to reign today. The nation was formerly known as Swaziland, but on the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence in 2018, Mswati changed the national name to Eswatini, citing a return to its ancient title before colonization. Although a small nation, the HIV/AIDS infection rate in Eswatini is one of the highest in the world, affecting 27% of those aged 15 to 49. Due to high poverty rates (59%) and income inequality, many women and girls end up in prostitution and are at greater risk for HIV/AIDS. Eswatini is also known as the country of orphans. Around 58% of the nation’s youngsters are orphans and vulnerable children, largely due to HIV/AIDS. Children often live together, with the older ones caring for the younger, and about one in ten are malnourished. Eswatini also has the world’s highest number of Tuberculosis cases, and 80% of those treated are also infected with HIV/AIDS. Drought, overgrazing, and soil depletion further contribute to national poverty, and nearly half the population is unemployed. Many are migrating to South Africa to find work.
Eswatini’s population is roughly 90% Christian, 2% Muslim, and 8% other minority religions. Christianity is taught to children through the education system, which provides great opportunities for teachers and pupils to reach out in love to nonbelievers. Although it is the primary religion, a large portion of those who claim to follow Christ are being led astray by false teachings such as Zionism, which combines ancestor worship with Christian beliefs. Lack of Biblical understanding and nominalism have opened the door for sins like sexual impurity to take root even in the Church, contributing to the widespread devastation of HIV/AIDS. Even so, there is a strong evangelical community (20%), and many desire to work together to reach Eswatini with the Gospel. The suffering of this nation presents an opportunity for the Church to tangibly demonstrate the love of Christ by meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of its people.
Capital City: Mbabane (administrative); Lombamba (royal and legislative capital)
Major People Groups: 83% Swazi (Tekeza); 10% Zulu; 2% Tsonga (Shangaan); 1% Afrikaner; 1% Coloured (Eurafrican)
Religion: Christian 89%, Ethnic religions 8%, Agnostic 1%, Muslim 1%
Language: Swati, Zulu, Afrikaans, Tsonga, Hindi
GDP Per Capita: $8,400
Literacy Rate: 88.4%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 0.1%
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