It is quite something to watch the machinery of the Swazi state swing into action. I don’t think I have ever seen so many cops on the streets in my life (and I lived through apartheid). If you are driving on Swazi roads right now you will get stopped and checked any time you drive anywhere. If you are travelling on a minibus you will also be required to get out of the vehicle and have your bag searched for weapons. However, if you are not in a minibus you will probably get a ticket for some minor infraction on your vehicle. For some reason every offence in Swaziland costs E6o (that is R60 and €6). The traffic cops are getting an out-of season bonus due to the impending uprising. The soldiers search the minibuses and the police ticket the other motorists. That is called synergy. I took this photo surreptitiously with my phone and paid the E60.
Strangely, this time around I am without my shadow. I may be Swazi Shado, but around March 18th I had an actual Swazi shadow. He was quite sweet. We laughed about the strange situation we had found ourselves in. Things were different then – definitely more friendly. This time, sans shadow (at least that I am aware of), I meet a man who believes he has sinister shadows and in fact, may soon be snatched up by them. He goes everywhere with his own shadow, there to make sure he does not disappear into the shadows. I tell him he is brave and wonder if I will see him again.
There is a slightly mad atmosphere in Swaziland. Everyone is talking about an uprising but no one knows what to expect. People are far more giggly than usual. Not the cops. I tried. No giggles. No giggles my friends.