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Swaziland's relations with Britain and South Africa since 1968

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  • Economics
  • Political Science


This work looks into Swaziland's political, economic, social and cultural relations with Britain (its former colonial master) and South Africa (its big and rich neighbour) in the period since Swaziland's Independence in 1968. The focus is on how Swaziland's relations with Britain and South Africa influence its socio-economic and political developments, and its internal and external security. As a micro-state, with a population of less than 0.7 million people, the assumption is made that Swaziland's progress and security can be reasonably assessed by examining its relations with the two powerful states with whom it has close links. This assumption arises from the fact that (i) Swaziland inherited political institutions from Britain, (ii) there were strong economic links (investments, trade, aid) between it and Britain at Independence and these ties continue today, (iii) there were, and still are, economic links in almost every aspect between Swaziland and South Africa at Independence and (iv) South Africa dominates the Southern Africa region - militarily and economically. The main arguments in the Thesis are (a) that the economic links between Swaziland and the two states provide economic growth for the former, thus helping to maintain stability, although South African domination threatens to undermine Swaziland's independence (b) that Swaziland has pursued a "tightrope policy" in Southern Africa, and that this regional strategy has, on the whole, succeeded in helping the country's survival; and (c) that the political system of Swaziland has an in-built tension in that the traditional institutions exist alongside modern ones and this is a threat to political stability.

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