Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in the world and one of the few African countries that has never faced a civil war. This portrait of a nation in transition juxtaposes the opulent ... See full summary »
Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in the world and one of the few African countries that has never faced a civil war. This portrait of a nation in transition juxtaposes the opulent life of the royal family to the bare subsistence of Swazi citizens who are poised to fight for a better life. Written by
I enjoyed this documentary very much, as I knew very little about Swaziland and it opened my eyes to a country that has many problems--not the least of which is the highest AIDS infection rate in the world. While this is only a small portion of the film, this certainly does not bode well for the future of this tiny nation. Whether or not they have a king or democratic government or anarchy, this problem certainly isn't going away soon.
The major thrust of the film, however, was on the political situation. Swaziland is the last kingdom in Africa and the king is THE government. He elects all of the government leaders in control of everyday decisions and he has the right to veto anything his hand picked men do. Additionally, according to the new constitution, he is exempt from the nation's laws. This is rather insane and anachronistic in the 21st century and I agree with the film makers that this isn't good. However, what is only alluded to briefly is that Africa has a history over the last 65 years of violent revolutions and chaos--making this once-fertile continent a more wretched place than it needs to be. So, as the film makers seem to say that major changes are needed, what needs to be done and how to do this without complete civil war and death? Fortunately, I saw some glimmer of hope here and there--but you really had to look for it in the film.
Whether or not these problems will be solved and how withstanding, the film definitely makes you think and you can't help but be affected by WITHOUT THE KING. It was a great conclusion to the film seeing the king's oldest daughter (who has always been pampered and sheltered) coming face to face with an impoverished AIDS orphanage. Perhaps there is some hope.
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