Female Leadership, Europeans, and the Struggle for Swazi Independence, 1890-1902

Hamilton Sipho Simelane


The contribution of women in the construction and reconstruction of Swazi historical events has received very little academic attention. Historians of Swazi history have been reluctant to research on the manner in which women in different historical periods have contributed to shaping the events of those periods. Much as there are difficulties in researching this subject, evidence suggests that Swazi women, especially those from the royal family, made substantial contributions to shape historical events and even political destiny of the country. This paper addresses this limitation in Swazi historiography and aims at showing that female agency in Swazi historical events are reality that can be integrated into academic discourse. It uses the contribution of Labotsibeni Mdluli to show how some women struggled to maintain the independence of the country. Her contribution to the struggle for Swazi independence in the nineteenth century serves as a microcosm of how women fought patriarchal attitudes, and imperialist impositions to shape the country’s historical events.



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