Fiscal crisis, social protest and state violence in Swaziland, 2009-2012
Simelane, Hamilton S.
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By 2010, Swazi society was experiencing severe economic hardship since the country was experiencing the worse fiscal crisis in its history. These economic hardships were partly an aftermath of the 2008 world financial crisis, but overall, it can be seen as a product of internal developments. Some scholars analyzed the factors behind the crisis, revealing its intensity and different dimensions.1 However, these scholars did not reveal how Swazi society reacted to the crisis. This article interrogates this neglected subject by focusing on the protests that took place in the country and the manner in which the state responded to these protests. The main objective is to reveal social agency, showing that the Swazi were not simply passive victims of the crisis, but stood up to express their feelings and preferences. The protests were directed towards the state which was accused of causing the crisis and failing to manage it. The article integrates human agency in the analysis of the crisis in contrast to the predominantly economistic approach adopted in the existing literature.