Sunday, October 7, 2012

Swazi Culture in Polls

People continually ask me how the protests are going in Swaziland. I think, after my having studied in the Middle East, they assume that Swaziland is in northern Africa, and somehow the same as Algeria and Libya. Newsflash: it's about as far away from Libya and Algeria as you can get without leaving the continent.

Anyways, I did a Google search of news from Swaziland, and found a paper called the Times of Swaziland. Sure, the articles I read were interesting, but more interesting were the website's polls, which appear in the sidebar of the articles. I know very little about Swazi culture and politics, but was fascinated by the sorts of questions they asked, and the responses people had marked. (If you're interested, here's the full list of polls from the site). I've split some of the ones that struck me as interesting into a few categories, and listed them below.

 Category 1. Relationships, Women's Rights, HIV/AIDS and Consent

^I think this one is kind of hilarious, to be honest. But also, assuming that the ratio of men to women answering each of the questions is about the same, so realize that the responses for the other questions are probably 97% men as well.

^Remember, 97% of people responding to these are probably men.
^Men harass women, and so laws should be enacted restricting what the women can do, because it's their fault? You can tell men answered this question.
^This is just sad.

Category 2. Government and Education

^Keep in mind that Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, and the last absolute monarchy left in the world, at that.

^There would be national outcry if this sort of thing were ever even suggested in the United States.

^Can't argue with this one...

Category 3. Other

^Well, this is encouraging, as a foreigner preparing to live out my next two years in Swaziland.
^Can you imagine if they asked this question in the United States?

Anyways, at this point, I've stopped thinking of things as "silly" or "ridiculous" or anything like that. I see things like this now and just think, "Well, that's different. I guess I'll have to get used to that one, seeing as how that's where I'm moving." I just thought that these were a really interesting way to look at the "mindset" of Swaziland. 

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