Explaining Swaziland - a book project

The Holographic Kingdom: magic, religion and politics in contemporary Swaziland

The authors have an agreement to publish the book "The Holographic Kingdom: magic, religion and politics in contemporary Swaziland" with the leading academic publisher in Southern Africa, the University of South Africa (UNISA) Press. Before the academic book will be published in late 2014, a 40-page booklet sumarizes the findings of the research specifically for development practitioners and organizations in Swaziland. this booklet will be published by the end of 2013. The elaboration of that booklet is supported by sahee.
The following main themes are addressed in the book and in the booklet are:
- socio-cultural and political dynamics from pre-colonial Swaziland to the penetration of capitalism and the development of the colonial state
- ritual power, focusing specifically on the relationship between kingship and magic
- the relationship between witchcraft cosmologies and the various forms of contemporary Christianity
- the historical roots of missionary Christianity, and its contemporary evolution, especially in relation to the problems of poverty and marginalisation
- livelihoods and material and social inequalities to national politics, as well as the theme of crisis, in its varied aspects, including material poverty, spiritual insecurity, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the orphan crisis.

The themes are looked at through four different lenses:
- The primary lens is the interaction of linear and non-linear logics in different aspects of life, encompassing culture, religion, politics and everyday life.
-The second lens concerns the role of self-evident unquestioned beliefs in providing people with a strong sense of purpose and direction in times of deep material and spiritual insecurity.
- The third lens concerns the importance of status as the search for recognition by others that all humans deal with in one way or another.
- The fourth lens is inspired by psychoanalytical thinking and its recent revival in theanthropological and social scientific literature on post-colonial countries.


A few thousend swazi women and men benefit directly by reading the book or by attending oral presentations. International cooperation organizations working in Swaziland and hence also their beneficiaries benefit from the books "local knowledge" and the development booklet that focuses especially on development practitioners.

Project costs and assistance by sahee

The entire project costs are CHF 27’450.–, whereas sahee takes over CHF 17’500.–.

Sahee contributes 17'500 CHF

Duration of assistance

1st of November 2012 to 31st of December 2014

Local counterpart

Vito Laterza, Bob Forrester (die Autoren)



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Project overview