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Was this the moment that ignited Eswatini’s deadly protests?

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Eswatini soldiers and police officers are seen on the streets near the Oshoek Border Post between Eswatini and South Africa.
Eswatini soldiers and police officers are seen on the streets near the Oshoek Border Post between Eswatini and South Africa.

Siphofaneni is a town that exemplifies Eswatini's potential, and malaise.

Situated on the Usuthu river, it is the centre of a sugar-cane hub en route to Durban. It has game parks, and the country's only coal mine. It is also the site of high unemployment, particularly among young people. Last month, frustration in this small, impoverished town ignited some of the largest protests Africa's last absolute monarchy has ever seen.

On 26 June, marchers defied a ban on petitions to deliver their list of demands to the Siphofaneni constituency representative in parliament, Mduduzi Simelane. Their numbers grew as they approached the Tinkhundla, the administrative building of the local constituency.

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