Running Tales

The Nomadic Urban Swara-SWAZILAND

"Mswati III King of Swaziland" by Kollmeierf - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mswati_III_King_of_Swaziland.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Mswati_III_King_of_Swaziland.JPG
“Mswati III King of Swaziland” by Kollmeierf – Own work.

Welcome to the land where its politically and culturally correct for young ladies to annually prance about in public bare-chested… ah Swaziland! The King’s word is law, everyone swears by Nkosi (King) and at the moment he has 13 wives and he has a kingdom that needs to be run.

Swazilands’ topography is made up of hills, which makes it fun to run around. As I prepared to run on Day 1 all I could think of,  was,this will be my Kerio Valley or Kajiado Nightmare, because like these two places the Swaras have run, the hills DO NOT end, granted  it plateaus but just for 100 metres, then you have  to run up another hill.

Its winter down  South and temperatures drop to as  low as -1 degrees, especially early in the  morning or in the evening. So three days in this country, I have gone through it all. Day 1  started with charting  a running path and I found this  well tarmcaked hilly road, which looked more promising, than the  adjacent ragged hills.  So here I am  thanking my lucky stars, that despite the steep hill , that it’s a smooth road,  4 kilometres into the run, the tarmac road ended in front  of a massive gated home, guarded by armed  military men. The first thing that goes through my mind is what have I got myself into and I slow down as the armed men  approach me. My first instinct is turn around  and flee, until when they wave me down. “ Is this a military installation?”, I ask. “No, this is the QUEEN’S palace!”  They reply, “Oh,” I respond rather stupefied and I push my luck, “ So this wife number….?” They laugh  nervously and deflect with this question, “so  are you  married”. I nervously give them a  two  thumbs up and nervously smile and say, “nice talking to you!”… and I was off .  I continued charting  another path and stuck to the main road, where I actually saw traffic, so to avoid getting into any private residence.  8 kms later I was able  to make it back to my hotel room. Running the remaining days have been rather uneventful, except, when the temperature suddenly drops, so I am forced to run with a fleece for extra protection.

With all said and done  this country is good fun and I  really enjoy the colloquial language which is flawlessly mixed in  English. So here  goes

 Izzit? You are running  neh? Look sharp!

 Next stop is  LESOTHO! Yes they do have a King and he swears by one wife, unlike his “brother”, who has 13. At least  the chances of me running into a Queens’ palace is rather low

Swaras,  so, izzit? This weekend, you are running …neh… sharp sharp! Share your stories as well