In many countries, such as the United States, we’re accustomed to having just one official capital. These important cities are recognized as the official seat of government in a state, and are typically the location of its administrative center. However, did you know that some countries – like Swaziland – have more than one capital? So what is the capital of Swaziland?
What is the Capital of Swaziland?
Officially the Kingdom of eSwatini, Swaziland is a country in Africa that has two official capitals: Mbabane and Lobamba. While the former is recognized as the administrative capital, the latter is the country’s legislative and royal capital. Let’s explore what these roles mean, and how it affects governance in the country.
With an estimated population of nearly 100,000 people, Mbabane is the largest city in Swaziland. As the administrative capital, Swaziland’s state administration is run from Mbabane. The city is also home to 14 foreign embassies and consulates.
The town began to flourish after the nation’s administrative center was moved there from Manzini (then called Bremersdorp) in 1902. This decision was made by the newly-established British protectorate after Bremersdorp was destroyed during the Anglo-Boer War. Mbabane was favored for its central location and cooler climate.
With a significantly smaller population of 11,000 people, Swaziland’s Legislative Assembly is situated in Lobamba. This city is recognized as the traditional, spiritual, and legislative capital of the state, and acts as the seat of the Parliament. The Parliament of Swaziland consists of the Senate (known as the Upper Chamber) and the House of Assembly (known as the Lower Chamber).
Lobamba is also home to the royal family. Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala resides in the Ludzidzini Royal Village. Her son King Mswati III lives at the Lozitha Palace, which is located a little over six miles from the city.
Government and Politics
The government of Swaziland is recognized as an absolute monarchy with constitutional provisions – the last in Africa, and one of the final remaining in the world.
Since 1986, the Queen Mother Ntfombi has acted as the joint Head of State along with King Mswati III. Swazi tradition mandates that the king should reign along with his mother or a ritual substitute. According to the country’s constitution, this shared power is a symbol of unity and the eternity of the nation.
King Mswati III acts as the administrative head of state. He is in charge of appointing the legislature’s prime minister, as well as a number of representatives from the Senate and House of Assembly. The Queen Mother is seen as the spiritual and national head of state, overseeing the nation’s rituals, and acting in a largely symbolic role.
Though it has two capitals, there are clear distinctions in the roles that Mbabane and Lobamba play in Swaziland’s governance. Proof that sometimes, two heads really can be better than one!