The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) – one of the most dynamic organisations in the Swazi democratic movement – is to hold their general conference between October 12 and 14 amidst mounting economic and social crisis in Swaziland. SNUS has invited foreign delegations, including student organisations, unions and others from around the world to take part in the conference that will include presentations, discussions, and workshops on the role of education in development. The government of Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, has reacted with increased brutality to any protests against its rule. SNUS President Maxwell Dlamini has himself felt this brutality on several occasions, most recently when he was detained, tortured and wrongfully charged last year.
He has since been released on bail and no credible charges have been brought against him during his court case. In a mail to Africa Contact, he said that SNUS “especially seeks to invite all those that were involved in the Free Maxwell Dlamini-campaign” that he says played an important role in him being released on bail. The invitation to the conference states that the conference in to revolve around the theme “building a united, vibrant and radical student movement in Swaziland to transform education and society,” and that delegates – local and international – are urged to join in the discussion of these matters in regard to both Swaziland and internationally.
SNUS has always insisted that their role, apart from being to deal with concrete students issues, is to help bring about a political system in Swaziland that upholds the rights and welfare of students and other citizens alike. “We are members of the community before we are students,” as SNUS motto goes. But Swaziland is presently a community where King Mswati III rules by decree and spends excessively of the national coffers, where two thirds of the population live in absolute poverty, where secondary and tertiary education is well beyond the means of most people, and where the scholarships of those who have somehow been able to afford further education have been lowered as a consequence of Swaziland’s financial quagmire that is mainly due to government corruption, overspending and financial mismanagement.
To contact the organisers of the conference:
Maxwell Dlamini, SNUS President, 00268 7816 3172, firstname.lastname@example.org
Palesa Dlamini, SNUS Secretary for Gender and International Affairs, 00268 7636 2273, email@example.com
By Peter Kenworthy, Africa Contact
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