King Mswati III of Swaziland has recently chosen his 15th wife: an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant named Sindiswa Dlamini.
Dlamini was observed wearing red feathers, the Swazi royal family's trademark, in her hair during a recent traditional Reed Dance ceremony in the southern provincial capital, Nhlangano, which signified her acceptance by Mswati III, the Telegraph reported
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"I wish to confirm we have a new liphovela (royal fiancée)," announced Hlangabeza Mdluli, who oversees the maidens who took part in the Reed Dance.
Prior to her engagement, Dlamini was a finalist in the Miss Cultural Heritage beauty pageant. The winner will be announced Sept. 28.
The 45-year-old Mswati III, who has 27 children from 13 of his wives, according to KingofSwaziland.com
, overseas a small nation in South Africa.
Though the engagement was reportedly welcomed by most Swaziland citizens, some publicly opposed it.
Kenneth Kunene, leader of the nation's banned Communist Party of Swaziland, said the news was "another burden to the Swazi masses, a further drain to the economy," the Telegraph reported.
Mswati III has 13 lavish palaces and an estimated net worth of $200 million, but 69 percent of the nation, 1.2 million people, live below the poverty line, according to Forbes
Additionally, Swaziland has the highest national rate of HIV in the world, with 26.1 percent of adults between 15 and 49 diagnosed with the disease.
According to the CIA Fact Book, of the 223 nations ranked for life expectancy, Swaziland comes in at 220, with the average citizen living just over 50 years. The only two nations with lower life expectancies around the world are South Africa and Chad.
Despite the royal family's wealth, the quality of life for Mswati III's wives is not as good as one might think. Three of Mswati III's wives fled the southern African nation in recent years, citing emotional and physical abuse, the Telegraph reported.
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