Swaziland’s King Mswati the III has married 19-year-old Siphelele Mashwama, daughter of Swaziland cabinet minister, Jabulile Mashwama as his 14th wife.
According to sources this is coming after many weeks of speculation, Maravi reports.
The new bride for the Swazi King has been confirmed by royal festivities overseer, Hlangabeza Mdluli.
He revealed that the new bride is currently in New York in the United States, where the 49-year old King is attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Mdluli told local journalists on Sunday, while the King was about to board his flight to the New York, that the King has officially made his choice of the new wife.
Siphelele is King Mswati’s latest and youngest wife in terms of age.
His other wives include: Inkhosikati LaMatsebula, Inkhosikati LaMotsa, Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, Inkhosikati LaNgangaza, Inkosikati LaMagwaza (deserted), Inkhosikati LaHoala (deserted), Inkhosikati LaMasango, Inkhosikati LaGija (deserted).
Others are Inkhosikati Magongo, Inkhosikati LaMahlangu, Inkhosikati LaNtentesa, Inkhosikati LaNkambule, Inkhosikati Ladube and Inkhosikati LaFogiyane.
King Mswati, also known as Ngwenyama, “the lion,” is said to have over 13 children, which include his eldest daughter HRH Princess Sikhanyiso, Sibahle Dlamini, Makhosothando Dlamini, Majaha Dlamini, and Tiyandza Dlamini.
Others are Sakhizwe Dlamini, Saziwangaye Dlamini, Bandzile Dlamini, Lindaninkosi Dlamini, Mcwasho Dlamini, Temtsimba Dlamini and Temaswati Dlamini, among others.
It’s a common tradition for the Swaziland King to choose a wife every year. Last year, the Sherburne-educated King chose a new bride during the well-known Reed Dance ceremony, (also known as Umhlanga).
Swazi girls in the annual traditional dance
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 from the various chiefdoms to Ludzidzini to participate in the eight-day event, and would-be brides are publicly checked to ascertain their virginity.
Swaziland is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies.
It has, according to Unicef, the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rate globally.
Some 210,000 Swazis were living with the HIV infection.
Swaziland, with a population of 1.2 million, ranks 112 out of 131 on the 2016 Global Hunger Index.
About 77 per cent of the Swazi population relies on subsistence farming for their livelihood.