Family Roles and Organization

In a family among the Swazi people, there was a headsman, a wife or wives, and the children. Married young men would also be part of the homestead. The head or the decision maker in the homestead was the headsman. Women in any homestead were thought to outsiders with the exception of the children (Gule, 1993). In most urban centers in the country, the families are nuclear as opposed to rural areas where most headsmen are majorly polygamist.

In the traditional Swaziland, young boys and girls would be separated as early as at the age of six (Gule, 1993). From here on, boys started associating with other elder boys, that is, they could start herding cattle with fellow boys. This was not only a training to learn the skill, but also to harden them in readiness for the task in future. In the current Swaziland, boys play with toys like cars, while girls do hair for their fellow girls, or cook. Otherwise the boys would be expected to learn from their fathers and the girls would learn from their mothers.

In Swazi, a child would be named at the age of three months, which is the time that the family would start recognizing the baby as a human being.  Otherwise, a male member of the homestead would become the heir but the female could not. In most cases, the rank of the mother would be considered in selecting the son to successor of the father upon his death and not the sequence of marriage. Women could still remain members of their father’s homestead. The community is generally responsible for the discipline of all the children. 

Generally, the boy child was given more priority than the girl child in matters of inheritance, education and health care. The girls were seen as assets: they would be married out; their value was measured in form of pride price. Human rights have thought this to be a form of discrimination and abuse to the girl child. Gays and lesbians are views as acute in the society and would not be tolerated at all costs.

The Swazi people practiced agriculture; men and women worked together in all the processes round the year. Women were majorly working in the garden, while men worked in the main cash crop plantations with the help of their wives. Cattle, on the other hand, were used to measure wealth.

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The old men in a clan came together and formed a council of elders. The council of elders worked like a judicial system; they would advice the society on what to do. They would also give direction in the process of solving disputes whenever they arise. The old women, on the other hand, dealt with education of the girls on how to behave and taught what was expected of them (Gule, 1993).

Marriage was seen as the coming together of two families. In the traditional society, polygamy was the order of the day, but thanks to civilization, it has phased away from the culture. In marriage, children and childbearing were the most important reason for marriage. In the traditional homestead, all children and all wives formed a family; the coming in of relatives and friends made it an extended family (Gule, 1993). An outsider came into a family when there was no male sibling, the siblings are too few to control the wealth of the family, or when a child had to be trained by a mentor. This mentor became the temporary foster father of the mentee.

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In Swaziland, the royal families and those that have their family members in a higher government position along with the business people have a high social status. Majority of the people have low status while a few are middle class minority have a high social status. The Swazi people see education and democracy as potential vehicles that can propel their society to greater heights.

Currently, the urbanized communities portray some kind of civilization. They have deviated from the traditional way of life; issues like polygamy, women oppression and male dominance is less or completely absent in the urban societies (Nada, Warms, & Ferraro, 2006).

Workforce Issues

Among the Swazi people, gender plays a major role in division of cores. Some duties have been labeled ‘masculine’ while others have been labeled ‘feminine’. For instance, the herding of cattle is purely a role of men in the homestead. If a family has not been blessed with a son, they would consider adopting one who would be herding. On the other hand in work place, you are likely to come across a female managing director who cannot question middle management for their activities or give authoritative direction to male counterparts just because they are used to subordinating.

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In a civilized society, the traditional family is comprised by several issues. To begin with, if a woman acquires a job which pays more than the husband, the husband would still want to control the spending of the family income. This has seen many families divorce. Alternative, a woman may not be give night duties in the work place; it is considered a taboo for a woman to enter a homestead after sunset so women would rather quit the job than attend night duties.

The language barriers that exist include translation and use of technology. The situation in Swaziland requires the language of instruction in class be siSwati. However, the language has not developed enough vocabularies to accommodate the emerging knowledge in technological field and other fields. This poses a great challenge to the members of the teaching staff in both lower and higher education sectors (Gule, 1993). The language barrier is a lack of sufficient translated materials. People who do not understand English may not access timely information in their profession since it takes time to translate it to siSwati.

Bio-cultural ecology

Swazi are Africans and therefore generally possess the African physical structures. Their eyes are dark in color, their hair are tight and curled. Their body hair is not thick but their noses are flat just as the other Africans. The Swazi identify with the Africa but they are first Swazi then Africans.  The Swazi people are generally densely pigmented.  They generally have black color of skin in nature.

Swaziland national life expectancy in average is 53.25 years. The most serous diseases that threaten the Swazi people are; SDI’s especially HIV and AIDs, several types of cancers including  throat cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostrated cancer, hepatic cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma, tuberculosis and vector bone diseases like malaria. 

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