King of Swaziland, Mswati the III, has married 19-year-old Siphelele Mashwama, daughter of his cabinet minister, Jabulile Mashwama, as his 14th wife.
According to sources, this is coming after many weeks of speculations, Maravi reports.
The new bride for the Swazi King has been confirmed by royal festivities overseer, Hlangabeza Mdluli.
He revealed that the new bride was also in New York where the 49-year-old King was attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Mdluli told local journalists on Sunday that the King had officially made his choice of the new wife.
Siphelele is King Mswati’s latest and youngest wife in terms of age.
Mswati became king at the age of 18, and currently has 32 children from 13 wives.
It’s a common tradition for the Swaziland King to choose a wife every year. Last year, the Sherburne-educated King chose a new bride during the well-known Reed Dance ceremony (also known as Umhlanga).
The Reed Dance is an annual Swazi and Zulu tradition held in August or September.
During the Dance, tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdoms to Ludzidzini to participate in the eight-day event, and would-be brides are publicly checked to ascertain their virginity.
Swaziland is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. It has, according to UNICEF, the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate globally. And some 210,000 Swazis live with HIV.
Swaziland, with a population of 1.2 million, ranks 112 out of 131 on the 2016 Global Hunger Index.
About 77 per cent of the Swazi population relies on subsistence farming for their livelihood. (NAN)