S is for Swazi Sweetness & Sacrifice–A to Z Blog Challenge

king-mswati-swaziland-1904 by Gianluigi GuerciaS imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.

Swaziland has barely been renamed to its original name of Kingdom of eSatini on April 19, 2018This country completely surrounded by South Africa and has some of the oldest artifacts and ancient of traditions.  The dance of the kingship is a key celebration of this country not more 82 miles one way and 120 miles the other way.  This picture is of the current King Mswati III and many citizens taken by Gianluigi Guercia.

Present-Day Sweetness & Sacrifice

The Nkamanzi Info Centre was launched in 2012 and has since helped the people of Swaziland/eStatini with the education and prevention of HIV.  While not its only focus in the healthy living, this centre involves the community.  I found it satisfying that the celebration of its opening was done through dance, song, and poetry.  More on the launch can be seen here:  http://www.hivsharespace.net/blog/nkamanzi-community-info-centre-first-its-kind-swaziland.  Some of the goals and approaches are shared here:  http://www.hivsharespace.net/blog/nkamanzi-community-information-centre-hosts-training-community-based-health-educators.  Part of it includes the kind service of visiting door-to-door of people who are HIV positive and giving guidance and support.

Past Sweetness & Sacrifice (Folktale)

This Swazi folktale is named “The Collared Crow” and is found here: https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/collared-crow

Here is a summary:

An old couple wished to have children yet never had any.  They cared for themselves by planting a bag of seeds each year.  They never had more than that bag of seeds to get them through the year.  One day, while planting the seeds, a large flock of birds came to eat the seeds.  The couple was about to save the remaining seeds so they can plant and survive from the future harvest when a huge white-collared crow asked that they still share their seeds.  As a result, the couple would be given happiness.  The couple talked and agreed to give the rest of the seeds to the hungry birds.  The white-collared crow announced what the couple had to do exactly as he said in order to receive the happiness.  They were to kill their only cow and take eight sets of organs and sew them in the cowskin so no light could enter.  They must cook the meat and have a feast for their neighbors.  No light could shine in their hut nor could they touch the cowskin until the cock crowed.  They must be quiet until sunrise.  The couple did all this and wondered what would happen.  The wind blew with such force, but they remained quiet.  Voices came from the cowskin, but they remained quiet.  Finally, the cock crowed.  The couple cut open the cowskin and eight babies were there…to be theirs.  The babies could talk and wished for food. Then the white-collared crow flew by and said the couple must collect the cow’s dung and burn it in the middle of the garden.  The couple did and the next day there was a tree.  The white-collared crow said that the tree would always bloom fruit but the seeds were for the birds. Yet, from that tree, more trees grew and the couple owned an orchard. Their children had children and the now old man became chief.

Interesting Notes on Kindness  

  • The couple decided to be kind and share the seeds
  • The white-collared crow rewarded kindness for kindness by offering happiness to them
  • Without knowing what the white-collared crow meant by “happiness,” the couple trusted and continued to be kind to the bird in feeding them seeds
  • Part of the requirement for happiness was to share the meet with neighbors, a kindness in and of itself
  • The magical fruit-bearing tree made it possible for the couple’s new family to be fed as well as the birds to be fed so that all benefited from the kindness of everyone else
  • The couple remained kind and it was a trait honored enough for the old man to become chief

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Swaziland/eSatini?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

7 thoughts on “S is for Swazi Sweetness & Sacrifice–A to Z Blog Challenge

    • storycrossroads says:

      Another story where kindness brings about objects turning into babies is the Maasai tale of “The Widow who Gathered Sticks.” I love how these types of stories can be found everywhere. Thanks for enjoying this tale. Today I posted on Torres Strait Islands and a little-known tale you may also find fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

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