Have Emaswati lost their cultural dispensation in the way children are raised today? Have Emaswati lost their indigenous dignity?

These are some of the many questions that need to be deliberated on, in order for Emaswati to identify solutions to the challenges of the modern era. Hence, the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SEPARC) is hosting a public lecture to start a conversation on some pertinent cultural issues.

Guest presenter at the lecture themed ‘Knocking on Moral Values to Integrate Indigenous Knowledge with Development’ is Joy Ndwandwe, a Heritage and Development Consultant and doctoral candidate at the University of South Africa (South African Research Chair in Development Education).

“With the country celebrating 50 years of independence and with only four years left to 2022 – the last year of implementation of the National Development Strategy – we, as Emaswati need to take a moment to reflect and perhaps look inwards to approach our development discourse from a cultural perspective,” said Dr Thula Sizwe Dlamini, Executive Director at SEPARC.

The purpose of the public lecture is to discuss and highlight the importance of indigenous knowledge in the development process and to dispel the misconception that indigenous knowledge is part of a residual, traditional, and backward way of life compared to western knowledge systems that are considered as part of the whole notion of modernity.

Discussions will be anchored to three SEPARC studies: Teenage Pregnancies in Eswatini; Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Eswatini; and Historical Perspective of Innovations in Eswatini.

Dr Dlamini said research conducted by SEPARC reveals that teenage pregnancies and sexual harassment in the workplace have become major problems in Eswatini. He said it has been found that the main trigger of some of these issues is the loss of moral values and Ubuntu at the household level, which encompasses crucial values that have over time evolved to be part of Eswatini culture and traditions.

“Historically, the elders had a responsibility to instil these values and Ubuntu to their children from a very young age. However, with modernity and development, it seems we have been losing these values. The outcome has been growing sexual harassment in the workplace alongside an increase in teenage pregnancies. Consequently, we find ourselves in an intense space where culture and traditions have been infiltrated by modernity, which is giving rise to a plethora of challenges both at the household level and in the workplace,” Dr Dlamini noted.

Against this backdrop, the pertinent policy questions that arise and need full engagement and deliberations by, and among, Emaswati include:

• What is Ubuntu in the context of a modern world?
• How can we influence public policy in an era of modernity?
• Whose lens are we using to shape our lives and development in Eswatini?
• How can we restore our indigenous dignity?

The lecture will be held on Thursday (July 26) at the Happy Valley Hotel starting at 08.30 am to 12 noon. Interested people are required to RSVP by sending an email to zwaneteetee@separc.co.sz or call 2404 3033/2823 by close of business on Wednesday.

About Ms Ndwandwe
Ms Joy Ndwandwe is a Heritage and Development Consultant, an indigenous prophet and African Renaissance activist. She is also a doctoral candidate at the University of South Africa (South African Research Chair in Development Education) and has published three books: Releasing Monkeys, Spirit of Kwandza, and Akusiko Kwami Kwebantfu: Unearthing King Sobhuza II’s Philosophy. She has conducted research on indigenous knowledge systems from Egypt, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Southern Africa, which has culminated in the development of cosmological principles.