Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, is a small country, landlocked within South Africa. The drive from Johannesburg to Eswatini traverses beautiful landscapes, with breathtaking views as each rocky outcrop is rounded. Outside protected reserves, baboons, monkeys, crocodiles, jackals and mongoose can still be found in the wild, with a few naughty monkeys who play chicken with vehicles on the roads. Eswatini is one nation under a polygamous king, with the consequences of polygamy making the status of girls and women an ongoing challenge.
The African Children's Stories program was conducted in partnership with World Vision and the Direct Aid Project (DAP) from the Australian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa. Three Eswatini collections have been published, and include 48 authors drawn from 14 participating primary schools in the Shiselweni and Hhohho regions.
The following schools can proudly claim published authors amongst their students: Ararati, Edwaleni, Elubhaceni, Emabheleni, Ensingweni Nazarene, Evelyn Baring, Galile Community, Maphalaleni SAGM, Mcengeni, Mdlunkhulu, Mhlaba Nazarene, Mphumalanga and Nhlangano Central primary schools.
The third and extremely precious collection is written by abused children. We accepted the stories and the responsibility to publish after Terri Irvin read every one of the 600 authors.
Presented by World Vision Eswatini Country Program Director, Francis Dube, this collection provided abused children with a platform to share their experiences anonymously, as well as raising awareness of violence against children and igniting movements of people committed to keeping children safe from harm and without shame.
Mbongiseni Mncina expressed the challenges young people face when she wrote in her story:
Life is really hard for us but these hardships will not kill the ’doctor‘ in me. I still hope to complete school and achieve my goal of being a doctor one day.