Swaziland's King Mswati III has chosen an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant as his 14th wife.

Swaziland’s King Mswati III whose ‘appetite’ for women is well known has chosen an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant as his 14th wife, a palace spokesman said Tuesday, days before a much-criticised parliamentary vote.

“I can confirm that the king has introduced to the nation a new liphovela (royal fiancee),” said Ludzidzini palace governor Timothy Mtetwa.

Swaziland's King Mswati III has chosen an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant as his 14th wife.
Swaziland’s King Mswati III has chosen an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant as his 14th wife.

Mswati, a 45-year-old who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, introduced Sindiswa Dlamini at a Reed Dance celebration over the weekend, Mtetwa told international media.

She wore red feathers on her head — a sign of royalty.

The young woman graduated from Mbabane’s St. Francis High School last year and is a finalist in the Miss Cultural Heritage beauty pageant. The winner will be announced on September 28.

The king has come under fire for his household’s lavish lifestyle while the tiny mountain kingdom’s 1.2 million people struggle to make a living.

The King's new engagement was announced at a festival which also counted regional delegates who will observe parliamentary elections on Friday.
The King’s new engagement was announced at a festival which also counted regional delegates who will observe parliamentary elections on Friday.

Mswati reportedly has a personal fortune of around $200 million (152 euros) and the UN estimates that 70 percent of his 1.2 million subjects live below the poverty line.

He has steadfastly resisted reforms.

The new engagement was announced at a festival which also counted regional delegates who will observe parliamentary elections on Friday.

Critics have slammed the polls as a sham, partly because political parties are banned and candidates are hand-picked by traditional leaders.

Swaziland holds an annual Reed Dance, where young virgins from across the kingdom gather and dance for the king.
Swaziland holds an annual Reed Dance, where young virgins from across the kingdom gather and dance for the king.

The weekend’s celebrations were a smaller repeat of last month’s official annual Reed Dance, where young virgins from across the kingdom gather and dance for the king.

“It just happened that the international community was there to witness the event,” said Mtetwa.

The wedding only takes place once the fiancee falls pregnant. Dlamini will then become Mswati’s 14th wife.

The monarch’s colourful private life is off-limits in local media, but has drawn a lot of international interest.

Three wives left the household in recent years. The latest, Queen LaGija, fled the palace in 2012 claiming years of physical and emotional abuse.

Another queen, LaDube, was reportedly abused after she was caught in bed with the justice minister, a close friend of the king.

Mswati had kidnapped and married the queen when she was 16 in 2005.

Additional Reporting By Agencies

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  • Oliver

    Just wondering … do they have age of majority in Swaziland. And if they do I presume the so called king must be above all laws

  • Namk

    Culture is culture. PERIOD! The king is trying to fulfill what his culture dictates.This behaviour started with his ancestors and will continue even when he dies. There is a reason why they keep parading young virgins in front of the king. It is their culture. The international community should leave Africa be.

    • jen london

      Culture can be changed if its causing harm or danger since its we who make culture .

      • Muslim

        Yes, especially bad practices in our cultures. There is no point glorifying things that have outlived their usefulness – which in fact in many ways were tailored to exploit people. This practice is exploitative and bad.

        • amos

          yah go on my king, use your talent and show them your skill. You real make us proud as Africans. continue….

  • Kazani Warren

    Madness…..!

  • Rose_M7 diehard

    How is the HIV prevalence rate in this country? just asking!

  • BEN MUKIIBI

    Long Live King Mswati but consider how you are going to leave those young girls in case God takes you, because in my Kingdom of buganda, once a King’s wife, forever shall she be

  • gakombe james

    The king should stop marrying many women and consider his people, b’se they under poor condition or below poverty line.

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