Birthday Of The Late King Sobhuza
On July 22nd every year in Eswatini, there is a public holiday observed that commemorates the birthday of the late King Sobhuza. This king ruled Swaziland for an amazing eight-plus decades, which makes his reign the longest of any monarch in history.
He was born on July 22, 1899, and became an infant king on December 10, 1899, at the age of four months old. Of course, his grandmother acted as his regent while he was growing up. He wouldn’t assume actual power until his 21st birthday, when he could make decisions for the country himself and no longer needed his regent.
The History of the Birthday of the Late King Sobhuza
On July 22, 1899, Ingwenyama Sobhuza II was born. Four months later, on December 10th of that same year, he became king with his grandmother acting as regent until his 21st birthday. From the beginning of his reign, the country over which he ruled was a British protectorate. Sobhuza II encouraged the country to seek independence, and in 1968 it did. He also changed the constitution of the country to strengthen the power of the king.
According to the Swaziland National Trust Commission, Sobhuza II had 70 wives and 210 children. This makes him one of the five men in the world who have been documented to have so many children. On August 21, 1982, the king died after almost 83 years of serving as his country’s monarch. His holiday is observed because he helped to oversee Eswatini becoming a more independent state. It is for that reason this day is a public holiday.
Observing the Birthday of the Late King Sobhuza
Because this holiday is a public one, it is a day off for most people, and many non-essential government offices, schools, and businesses are closed. This holiday is observed with special “birthday party” celebrations that occur all across the country. There are also public speeches given by politicians and civic leaders as well.