Newsbrief: Swaziland Row Over Rasta Royals 5/31/02

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According to the BBC, aides of Swaziland King Mswati have evicted six young men, including the king's nephew, from the royal residence for wearing dreadlocks and allegedly smoking marijuana. This is the second time the self-described Swazi Rastafarians have been thrown out of the royal palace. Earlier this year, the Elders of the Swazi Nation, as the king's aides are called, accused them of smoking dagga (the local term for marijuana) and other "mischievious acts," including inviting non-royals into the palace and practicing Rastafarianism, the Jamaica-based religion that uses marijuana as a sacrament.

But Prince Bhamela, one of the Swazi Six and nephew to King Mswati, told the BBC the real reason they were being evicted was because they wanted to reveal to the king a certain dream concerning his reign.

According to another member of the group, Victor Zulu, the Rastas would refuse to leave the royal police and were messengers of peace. "We have the secret to life and we have been ordered not to give this information to anyone but the king," he told BBC. "We have not been told these words we are meant to have said when praise-singing the king. We have a lot of information about the nation, and we will persist in making our way to see the king. There are a lot of things happening which are leading the country to disaster, and we need to divulge these happenings before the king," Zulu explained.

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