Accepted paper:

Local struggles and global connections: radical nationalism and Pan-Africanism in the independence struggle for Swaziland

Author:

Matteo Grilli (University of the Free State)

Paper short abstract:

This paper shows how Swaziland's local struggle for independence must be included in a wider context of continental and global connections which brought a crucial influence on Swati visions of Pan-Africanism and nationalism.

Paper long abstract:

The history of radical nationalism in Swaziland took a decisive turn when, in 1960, J.J. Nquku transformed the existing Swaziland Progressive Association into a Party (SPP). Nquku and Dr. Ambrose Zwane took advantage of the networks they had created internationally to promote the struggle for the Independence of Swaziland. These were later streghten by Zwane when he formed his own party in 1963: the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC). Both the SPP and NNLC developed strong relationships with other African countries and particularly with Ghana, where they sent members for administrative and ideological training. Nkrumah also sponsored their trips abroad, influenced their political agenda and the constitutional talks with London. Through the international channels offered by Ghana and other African countries, radical Swati nationalists could put forward their progressive idea for post-colonial Swaziland and openly attack the Swati monarchy, perceived as conservative and allied with colonialism and apartheid. As a result, SPP and NNLC allowed Swati activists to widen their knowledge of Africa and the rest of the world. They also teamed up with other progressive movements in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana, with a similar radical vision of Pan-Africanism and nationalism. This paper shows how the independence struggle in Swaziland developed along the lines of networks built by the SPP and NNLC around transnational hubs such as Accra. Swaziland's local struggle for independence must therefore be included in a wider context of continental and global connections which brought a crucial influence on Swati visions of Pan-Africanism and nationalism.

panel His17
Connected decolonisations: networked approaches to anticolonial struggles in Africa, 1950s-80s