Meet King Mswati III Of Swaziland, The Monarch That Marries A Young Virgin Annually

The supreme leader of Swaziland, Mswati III (born as Prince Makhosetive on 19 April 1968) is the King of Eswatini and head of the Swazi Royal Family.

He was born in Manzini, Eswatini, to King Sobhuza II and one of his younger wives, Ntfombi Tfwala.

He was crowned as Mswati III, Ingwenyama and King of Swaziland, on 25 April 1986 at the age of 18, thus becoming the youngest ruling monarch in the world at that time.

Together with his mother, Ntfombi Tfwala, now Queen Mother (Ndlovukati), he rules the country as an absolute monarch.

Mswati III is known for his practice of polygamy (although at least two wives are appointed by the state) and currently has 15 wives.

The royal palace of Swaziland recently confirmed that King Mswati III, the leader of Swaziland and head of the Swazi Royal Family has married a 19-year-old Siphelele Mashwama as his 14th wife.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet His Majesty King Mswati III, Kingdom of Swaziland, and Her Royal Highness Queen Inkhosikati La Mbikiza, in the Blue Room during a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

The King’s new bride, Siphelele Mashwama is the daughter of Jabulile Mashwama, a Swaziland Cabinet Minister and a graduate from Swaziland’s Waterford Kamhlaba World University College.The new bride is in currently in New York in the United States, where the king (49) is attending the United Nations general assembly. In the early hours of Sunday morning, royal festivities overseer Hlangabeza Mdluli told local journalists who were at the airport to see the king off that it was official.

Siphelele will be wife number 14 (including the three wives who left him). Other wives of the king are Inkhosikati LaMatsebula, Inkhosikati LaMotsa, Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, Inkhosikati LaNgangaza, Inkosikati LaMagwaza (deserted), Inkhosikati LaHoala (deserted), Inkhosikati LaMasango, Inkhosikati LaGija (deserted), Inkhosikati Magongo, Inkhosikati LaMahlangu, Inkhosikati LaNtentesa, Inkhosikati LaNkambule, Inkhosikati Ladube and Inkhosikati LaFogiyane.

It is a common tradition in Swaziland for the king to choose a wife every year. Last year, the King picked a new bride during the well-known Reed Dance ceremony, also known as Umhlanga.

At the annual reed dance, Siphelele was given red feathers known as emagwalagwala, a bird that is associated with the royal family.

The Reed Dance ceremony is an annual Swazi and Zulu tradition held in August or September. In Swaziland, tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel to Ludzidzini to participate in the eight-day event and would-be brides are publicly checked to ascertain that their virginity was still intact.

Photo Credit: Getty

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