Virginity Testing

Warning – this post contains material of a sexual nature. Despite the fact that most girls start having sex before they have reached the age of consent, this counts as statutory rape in Swaziland. The law says that girls under the age of 18 are not able to consent to sex. This is confusing, because… Continue reading Virginity Testing

At the barber’s again

A colleague and I went to the barber’s this morning. My favourite tonsorial artist had boasted to me that he had customers coming 40 kilometres to have their hair done at his salon, “Nadia’s Fashions”. He said that he only charged 140 Rand for hair colouring – £6.50 – which undercuts (sorry) the hairdressers in… Continue reading At the barber’s again

Hawane

My last walk with the Natural History Society of Swaziland was calm and tranquil. The hills were cloaked in mist and the grass was heavy with dew. We followed a herd of cattle across the hillside, through the bracken. The Tortoise Head Rock is situated on the north side of Strelitzia Gorge (see previous post).… Continue reading Hawane

Execution Rock

Each time I drive on the NR3 highway between Manzini and Mbabane, I am distracted by a rocky peak, Execution Rock. It is set apart from the ridge of hills which form the southern rim of the Ezulwini valley. Srinu was impressed by it, too. Here he is posing by Shoprite in The Gables Shopping… Continue reading Execution Rock

Mankayane

It’s New Year’s Day and I decided to go out with the team to visit patients with drug resistant tuberculosis in the Mankayane area. I knew it was going to be an early start, so I went to bed early but the fireworks at the stroke of midnight woke me up. The driver arrived at… Continue reading Mankayane

Incwala

Incwala – the First Fruits The ceremony begins when King summons young bachelors to collect a sacred bush called lusekwane. They have to march 50km to the site, where they lop off  branches under the light of the full moon, which this year was at Christmas. The next day, elders weave the freshly-cut branches between… Continue reading Incwala

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many… Continue reading 2015 in review

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Categorized as Swaziland

Clinical Notes

  The readers of my blog have asked me to write more about my work, rather than my walks. As always, I have altered the details to preserve patient confidentiality. There are few things more dramatic than a patient being brought to the clinic in a state of collapse. The relatives flap around anxiously. The… Continue reading Clinical Notes