Aug 30 2005

Swaziland, Part 2

SwazichicksPut this in your pipe and smoke it: forty percent of Swazis are HIV positive.

Reader Judy sends in this story about the revolutionary method employed by Mswati III, King of Swaziland to prevent the spread of HIV in his realm: a sex ban.

This, coming from a dude with twelve wives and a fiancée.

Here’s how the sex ban works: virgin girls are issued a "woolen tassel," which is worn on the person at all times as a "symbol of chastity." Thus, if a laddie meet a lassie comin’ through the rye, and he propositions her, she is supposed to "throw the tassel outside his house and his family would have to pay a fine of a cow."

At least one observant teenager noticed that there were problems with the efficacy of tassels as a prophylactic: "They had no use because some girls fell pregnant while wearing the same tassels."

The story appears this week because His Imperial Royal Prurience, on the eve of selecting yet another wife from the Pool of Virgins–’cause you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough!– recently lifted the ban without explanation. To express their joy over this turn of events, the chaste virgins of Swaziland threw a secret yet festive chicks-only wingding, the highlight of which was reportedly a big-ass tassel bonfire, which I suspect was nothing compared to the afterparty. Nudge nudge.

Hey, Mswati: I’m no sexpert, but maybe next time some sex ed and a packet of rubbers is the way to go.


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  1. Finn

    At least it gives us a new euphemism for losing your virginity…

    Throw the tassel…


  2. Sylvanite

    My parents have a friend who’s from Swaziland. Every time I go over there, I have to look at a photo of the king. Needless to say, the friend from Swaziland is male. Interestingly enough, I’ve met his sister who also lives here in the US, and she strikes me as being unlikely to be all nostalgic about the king…

  3. PrissyNot

    I would think that any woman from that country (and that means they got to LEAVE that country) would be SO relieved to be out of that country and AWAY from even the slightest shadow of a possibility of having to join the “Pool of Virgins” that they would spit on a picture of the king every time they got the chance. In general being a black African woman has got to be the pits. If even half of the horror stories are true, then the entire culture needs to be re-educated – into the ground. AND WHO RAISES THOSE LITTLE BOYS TO BECOME GREAT BIG, VIRGIN-TERRORIZING, TESTOSTERONE DRIVEN MEN? THEIR MOTHERS!!!!! BECAUSE YOU KNOW THE FATHERS AIN’T DOING THE RAISING . . .

  4. TeenageCatgirl

    I blogged about this, too.

    I particularly like the subtle implication that women spread AIDs in a way men don’t. The dirty whores.

  5. Tony Patti

    Putting the blame on the victim has been an especially evil and useful tool of men throughout time. The conservatives in the USA are especially good at it.

    It enhances the entire Stockholm syndrome, and grooms women to blame themselves for every injustice that befalls them, no matter how egregious or horrible.

    In many subtle ways, women and men are raised with these preconceptions of the inevitability of injustice. As a man, I ask myself, “Where am I still seeing women and men this way? How can I stop it?”

    At least if you acknowledge you are blind you can start groping around in the dark. But the world is run by fools who stumble around, utterly blind, and blame the darkness for their own inability to see.

  6. Twisty

    But the world is run by fools who stumble around, utterly blind, and blame the darkness for their own inability to see.

    Tony Patti. The man. The myth. The poet.

  7. Liz

    Our culture has its own reed dance and its own pool of virgins. Think of the women who throw themselves at sports stars and politicians and rich businessmen, and the young girls making vows of chastity for jesus (works no better than a tassel, I’m told).

    We are shocked at foot binding but wear high heels. We oppose the burka or hijab but have to cover our true face with make-up and spend up big on clothes to fit in at our workplace. We criticise the one-child policy in China with its economic sancations against large families while we ponder our choice of career or family. We live in countries that aren’t ready for a woman leader. We pity those poor olden-days women who wore corsets to pull in their waists while we renew our gym membership and buy the magazines to feed our fascination with the fat-star-skinny-star pendulum.

    Someone out there in twistyland can surely put all this in better language with some laughs.

  8. Christopher

    Whenever I hear about the king of Swaziland he sounds like a character from Gulliver’s Travels or some other satire.

    He needs a good beating, if you ask me.

  9. ae

    Twisty, re: that sex ed and a pack of rubbers, we are all Swaziland now.


  10. Lingual X

    This is the same guy who also won’t let women wear PANTS in his country…

    This is an old story from 2002, but part of the trend that Twisty is documenting, never the less.

    “The Bible says curse be unto a woman who wears pants, and those who wear their husband’s clothes. That is why the world is in such a state today,” King Mswati said.The Times of Swaziland reports the monarch, who reigns supreme in the landlocked country of 1 million where opposition parties are banned, went on to criticise the human rights movement.”

    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Trousers

  11. Sylvanite

    Actually, the sentiment my parents’ friend feels for the king is even more pathetic than it might appear – he’s part white, which means that he’s not even considered to be a citizen of Swaziland, apparently. He still seems to miss the country, though. His sister, on the other hand, seems to be thrilled to be out of there.

  1. Lingual Tremors

    Feminist Struggles: NOW

    Have you noticed fashion this summer? In addition to the summer of skirts where women are swinging fabric from their hips like it’s 1955, everything woman is tied up in little bows, from shoes to shirts to skirts. Walking

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