PICTURES: 2024 Marula (Buganu) Festival at Buhleni Royal Residence

PICTURES: 2024 Marula (Buganu) Festival at Buhleni Royal Residence

The Marula season begins each year in mid-February and continues until May, bringing with it a celebration of the harvest of the Marula fruit. Once the green fruits fall to the ground, women and children gather and store them until they ripen to a creamy yellow color. The fruits are then placed into water, sugar is added and it is fermented, and distilled into a beer. This potent alcoholic mixture is called buganu, or marula beer.

The Kingdom of Eswatini celebrates the start of the Marula season with the annual Marula festival. The festival is increasing in popularity and swiftly becoming one of the country’s most exciting traditional ceremonies. Each year King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, the Queen Mother, make their way to various regions of the Kingdom to celebrate the beginning of the Marula Season.

The largest of these festivals is held at the Royal Residence at Buhleni where the royal family joins the nation in song and dance. Although the Marula Fruit is found widely throughout Africa, it is most popular in Eswatini. Seen by the Swazi nation as much more than a food source, the Marula is rather regarded as a magical healing ingredient, with huge fertility properties. The King and Queen Mother are presented with Marula gifts and some Marula beer from each household. Only after the royal family has had some of the beer, is the rest of the nation permitted to join in and drink as well.

Because of its many uses, the marula fruit is no longer just used to brew beer in Swaziland. It has been further developed into beauty products as part of Her Majesty, The Indlovukazi’s job creation and poverty alleviation initiatives for rural women in Swaziland. Several families in Swaziland have benefitted from this initiative. 

MARULA QUICK FACTS

  • Marula fruit contains four times more valuable vitamin C than oranges.
  • Marula edible seed oil is rich in nutritious proteins and minerals and contains active anti-oxidants.
  • Marula essential oils are an effective skin conditioner. Its cosmetic and anti-oxidant properties soften, soothe, and rehydrate the skin while fighting free radicals.
  • Marula legends abound – from its use as a food source, and magical qualities as a healing ingredient, to its virility and fertility properties, as well as the many uses of its bark, leaves, fruit, nut, and kernels.

MARULA SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

  • On the first day, the Queen Mother arrives at Buhleni Royal Residence, and the women of the area present bucket-loads of marula fruit harvested over the last week.  All the women are dressed in traditional clothing and respect is shown, praise and thanks are given
  • On the second day, the main day, the King usually joins the Queen Mother, and the Marula Brew – Emaganu – is presented to their majesties, who partake of the brew and declare the season open.  This is celebrated by song and dance, specific to the occasion.  
  • Following this, marula brew, buganu, is officially blessed and may be consumed across the country.
  • A second event of similar rituals is held at His Majesty’s Hlane Royal Residence  

         

Eswatini Students proudly display Eswatini Culture at colorful event in Morocco

Eswatini Students proudly display Eswatini Culture at colorful event in Morocco

The Confédération des Élèves, Étudiants, Stagiaires Africains et Étrangers au Maroc (CESAM) hosted a Day of Integration in Rabat at Cité Universitaire Internationale (International Students’ Residence) for all foreign students. 

“Eswatini students studying in Moroccan universities, resident different Cities poured into Rabat, Morocco on Saturday, 17 February 2024, to show all those who attended a thing or two about Swati Culture. High spirited Swazi girls were dancing with every drop of soul they had. The boys well on their whistles and doing their own thing there. The crowd was amazing. Women from different nations instinctively ululated without nobody asking them to, as if they knew exactly how to receive and appreciate what the students gave them. They gave them true tradition; pure culture; they gave them the Kingdom of Eswatini!” – a recount from an Eswatini student in Morocco who participated in the event.

This is an annual integration day celebration where the new students are welcomed into the “CESAM” which is the General Confederation of African Students and Trainees in Morocco. Students from the four corners of the world under the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI) scholarship can subscribe for membership to this Confederation.

Usually, this is a full day’s event packed with activities such as but not limited to: football, basketball, and volleyball (male, female, and mixed) where the old students face their new compatriots. Later in the evening, a cultural show takes place where each Country can showcase its culture through dance, song, and poetry.

 

South-South Cooperation: The Role of National Parliaments and Regional and Continental Parliamentary Unions in Africa, the Arab world, and Latin America in Enhancing Strategic Partnerships and Achieving Joint Integration and Development

South-South Cooperation: The Role of National Parliaments and Regional and Continental Parliamentary Unions in Africa, the Arab world, and Latin America in Enhancing Strategic Partnerships and Achieving Joint Integration and Development

In its role as the current Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECCA) President, the Kingdom of Morocco held “the Parliamentary Conference on South-South Cooperation” under the High patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. The Conference took place in Rabat on 15th and 16th February 2024 under the theme: “South-South Cooperation: The Role of National Parliaments and Regional and Continental Parliamentary Unions in Africa, the Arab world, and Latin America in Enhancing Strategic Partnerships and Achieving Joint Integration and Development”.

It’s important to note that the Senate of the Kingdom of Eswatini (then known as Swaziland), was one of the founding members, along with the Kingdom of Morocco in a meeting of Senate/ Council Presidents held in Rabat, June 6-7, 2002.

The Parliamentary Conference brought together more than 260 participants from 40 countries, including 30 speakers of national parliaments and regional and continental parliamentary unions from Africa, the Arab world, Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the Conference, several Panels were held, centering on:

  1. Enhancing Political Dialogue and Regional Security to achieve peace and stability in Africa, the Arab World and Latin America
  2. Achieving Economic Transformation, Regional Integration, and Shared Development: The Significance of Policies Related to Enhancing Strategic Partnerships, Encouraging Investment, Technology, Infrastructure, and Enhancing Competitive Capacities
  3. The Sustainable Development, Energy, and Environment Triad.

The Honorable Senate President of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Pastor Mrs. Lindiwe Dlamini chaired the second panel. Furthermore, the Kingdom of Eswatini gave its intervention on two 

Participants lauded the pioneering role played by the Kingdom of Morocco, under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, in launching and supporting all development and cohesion initiatives aimed at sustaining South-South cooperation.

The parliamentarians also called for “initiatives to serve as catalysts for strengthening South-South coordination, cooperation and solidarity” between the countries of Africa, the Arab world, Latin America and the Caribbean at bilateral, regional and inter-regional levels, particularly in areas linked to food, energy and health sovereignty and security, economic exchanges, sustainable development, coordination and consultation through permanent institutional channels.

Bilateral Meetings held on the Sidelines of the High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries

Bilateral Meetings held on the Sidelines of the High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries

Bilateral meeting between the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Senator Mrs. Pholile Dlamini-Shakantu and H.E. Nasser Bourita, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates on the sidelines of the High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries

The Ministers deliberated on several pertinent issues of mutual benefit that are intended to strengthen relations and enhance cooperation between the two Kingdoms. These included, but were not limited to issues with regard to convening a Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC), scholarship programme benefiting Eswatini students studying in Moroccan universities, capacity building, and exploration of areas of mutual interests, among others.

 

Bilateral meeting between the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Senator Mrs. Pholile Dlamini-Shakantu and H.E. Mr. Ryad Mezzour, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Digital Economy, on the sidelines of the High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries.

The two Ministers deliberated on various matters where the two countries can initiate and/or enhance cooperation in fields relating to financial services, telecommunications, construction, agriculture and agri-processing, textile, fertilizer, and other areas of industrial cooperation.

 

Bilateral meeting between the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Senator Mrs. Pholile Dlamini-Shakantu, and the General Vice-President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), Mehdi Tazi

The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) is the representative of the private sector to public authorities and institutions and focuses on improving the business and investment environment, internationally, through its business councils. It relies on a network of various organizations and partners, including Embassies, Foreign Representatives, Morocco Export, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Moroccan entrepreneurs in the diaspora, among others.

Several issues of national importance were discussed that could be packaged and discussed between this entity and the Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA). The topics were in relation to several key products and sectors of Eswatini economy, including forestry, sugar by connecting Royal Eswatini Sugar Association with the CONSUMAR (Moroccan sugar manufacturer), tourism, service industry, and health, among others.

The Minister, also underscored Eswatini’s interest in cooperation to establish a fertilizer manufacturing plant in Eswatini, smart agriculture and technologies, and trade, among others. She also invited business people to participate in the Eswatini International Trade Fair and attend Umhlanga to witness the cultural preservation of Eswatini and opportunities for the tourism sector.

The High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries (MICs)

The High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries (MICs)

The Conference was organized on the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, in conjunction with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the theme: “Solutions to address development challenges of Middle-Income Countries in a changing.”   

The Kingdom of Eswatini was represented by the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Senator Mrs. Pholile Dlamini-Shakantu accompanied by the Charge d’Affairs and First Secretary, Socio-Economic and Cultural Affairs.

The Conference deliberated on challenges and opportunities facing middle-income countries; provided an opportunity to debate on how the United Nations Development System, regional and international institutions and other development partners can support the MICs in meeting the challenges of economic and social development; as well as deliberating on pertinent issues including: including South-South and triangular cooperation, climate financing, innovative sources of financing and the middle-income trap, among others.

Minister visiting the Embassy

Upon her arrival, the Honorable Minister paid a courtesy visit to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Eswatini to the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat and was welcomed by the staff of the Embassy.

 

At the Conference

 The family photo of the Hon. Ministers with the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Heads of Delegation, and invited guests.

The Hon. Minister delivering Remarks on behalf of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Annual Meetings

International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Annual Meetings

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) Group held their annual meetings, in Marrakech, Morocco from 9-15 October 2023. This is the first meeting on African soil in 50 years.

The Annual Meetings brought together finance ministers and central bank governors from several countries, providing a platform for global economic and financial decision-makers to address crucial issues ranging from financing policies to economic growth and the ever-pressing concern of climate change.

A delegation from several key stakeholders of the Kingdom of Eswatini was present during this prestigious event. The delegation was headed by Dr. Phil Mnisi, Governor of the Central Bank of Eswatini, and comprised of Senior Officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Planning. 

 

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