iNgwenyama of Eswatini
Mswati III
since 25 April 1986
StyleHis Majesty
Heir apparentNone declared
ResidenceLozitha Palace, Lobamba, Eswatini
Royal standard

iNgwenyama (lit.'Lion', pl. tiNgewnyama, also Ingwenyama or Inkosi[1]) is the title of the male monarch of Eswatini. In English, the title is sometimes translated as King of Eswatini. The iNgwenyama reigns together with the Ndlovukazi, a spiritual leadership position held by the iNgwenyama's mother or another female royal of high status.[2][3]

The current king is Mswati III, who has reigned since 1986. The annual budget allocated to the King and the royal household amounts to $61 million.[4][5]


Ingwenyama means "Lion" in Swazi[1] but in an honorific sense, as opposed to libhubesi, used to refer to lions in the literal sense. The title is sometimes written Ingwenyama, iNgwenyama, or ingweinyama, with the prefix i- (plural ti-, tiNgweniyama), meaning "the king".



The iNgweinyama owns all minerals in Eswatini except for those owned by private corporations. The other aspects of mining are also controlled by the iNgwenyama.[6][7]


The iNgwenyama can appoint 20 (out of a maximum of 31) senators in the Senate of Eswatini and 10 (out of a maximum of 76) members of the House of Assembly of Eswatini.[8][9] The iNgwenyama is also the head of the judicial system and the Chairman of the Swazi National Council.[10] Local officials that are responsible for the governance of Eswatini are either appointed by the iNgwenyama, or their superiors are.[11]


Other powers of the iNgwenyama include allocating land, initiating national gatherings, disbursing wealth, organizing social events, and taking part in rituals.[2] The iNgwenyama has royal praise singers called griots. The griots appear at public events and sing about the virtues of the Ngwenyama.[12] Any offence against the Ngwenyama or Ndlovukati or their property is considered a heinous crime. It is illegal to wear the ruler's clothes, use their medicines, or be within a certain distance of them. Adultery with the Ndlovukati is treason, and the Ngwenyama can exile any citizen for any reason.[citation needed]

Religious importance

During the Incwala, the Ngwenyama splits the sacred water to the east and west to signal the end of the last year. On the second day of the Incwala, youths gather special branches and place them in a special sanctuary. The Ngwenyama then sings with his subjects in the sanctuary, thus reaffirming their loyalty. Later the Ngwenyama lights a fire. The purpose of the festival is to secure the prosperity of the Kingdom of Eswatini.[13] The Ngwenyama is also sometimes believed to be the cause of violent rain.[1]


Sobhuza II played an important role in the modernization of Eswatini. In the past, the royalist Imbokodvo National Movement consistently won the vast majority of seats while political parties were legal, thus gaining total control over the government.[12] iNgwenyama Mswati III compromised the traditional tinkundla system, replacing parts of the system with modern Eswatini institutions.[14]


The iNgwenyama is traditionally succeeded by one of his male sons. The heir is chosen based on the virtue of his mother.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Marwick, Brian Allan (1966). The Swazi. CUP Archive.
  2. ^ a b Kuper, Hilda (1980 [1947]). An African Aristocracy. Rank Among the Swazi [facsimile reprint]. Africana Publishing Company for the International African Institute.
  3. ^ Andeweg, Rudy B.; Elgie, Robert; Helms, Ludger; Kaarbo, Juliet; Müller-Rommel, Ferdinand (30 July 2020). The Oxford Handbook of Political Executives. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-253691-4.
  4. ^ "amaBhungane - Cash splash for Swazi king's wings". 12 August 2018. Archived from the original on 12 August 2018.
  5. ^ France-Presse, Agence (14 May 2014). "King of impoverished Swaziland increases household budget to $61m". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse – via
  6. ^ Information Circular. 1925.
  7. ^ Ely, Northcutt (1970). Summary of Mining and Petroleum Laws of the World: Africa. U.S. Bureau of Mines.
  8. ^ "Swaziland: Constitution and Politics". The Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 2 June 2018.
  9. ^ Publications, Europa (2003). Africa South of the Sahara 2004. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-1-85743-183-4.
  10. ^ A Comparative Study of National Integrity Systems in 5 Southern African Countries. Transparency International Zimbabwe. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7974-3508-7.
  11. ^ a b Kuper, Hilda (16 August 2018). An African Aristocracy: Rank Among the Swazi. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-429-99796-9.
  12. ^ a b Dlamini, Hlengiwe Portia (25 September 2019). A Constitutional History of the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), 1960–1982. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-24777-5.
  13. ^ Potholm, Christian P. (8 January 2021). Swaziland: The Dynamics of Political Modernization. Univ of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-31731-4.
  14. ^ Rwelamila, Pantaleo D.; Abdul-Aziz, Abdul-Rashid (22 December 2020). Improving the Performance of Construction Industries for Developing Countries: Programmes, Initiatives, Achievements and Challenges. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-28865-0.