The late King Sobhuza II’s birthday falls on 22 July and continues to be commemorated out of respect to the sovereign’s memory. Although he died in 1982, the King Father’s Birthday is kept because of the great importance of Sobhuza II in Swaziland’s history.
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King Sobhuza II reigned for 82 years and oversaw the independence of Swaziland from the UK. A regent ruled during his early years, but he still ruled directly for 61 years.
Immediately after independence, Swaziland had a constitutional monarchy that limited the king’s powers to a degree. But in 1972, Sobhuza sent Swaziland’s parliament home and decided to rule as absolute monarch. He ruled until his death on 21 August, 1982.
Despite taking control as absolute monarch, the people of Swaziland look favourably on King Sobhuza II because he helped the economy to prosper and led in major social changes. He also helped preserve the cultural traditions of his people in the midst of these changes. He is much respected even after his death, and the people remember him as a great Swazi leader every King Father’s Birthday.