Remembering the life and times of Prince Dumisa, the unsung Swazi hero

 

Prince Clement Dumisa Dlamini was born in Lobamba, Swaziland on 25th December 1936 to Emelinah Mgocozi Nxumalo and Prince Mkukwane Dlamini.

 

He attended his first school at Zombode Primary School in 1946 until 1952. In 1953 he attended Salasian High School where he did his Junior Certificate. He then went to Matsapa High School where he Matriculated.

 

Between 1956 and 1959 Prince Dumisa relocated to Lesotho where he gained his Matriculation 1 & 2 6 A-Levels at Roma College. He furthered his education at Lerotodi Technical College where he studied Secretariat & Typing. He then gained his first undergraduate degree at the Roma University College in Lesotho.

 

During Prince Dumisa’s youth, Swaziland was a British colony. This led him to became active as a youth a leader of Mr J.J Nqukubu’s Swaziland Progressive Party that operated in the 1960s. The central goal of the party was to fight for Swaziland’s independence.

 

Two years later, Prince Dumisa joined forces with Dr Ambrose Phesheya Zwane to form a breakaway party, the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC).  He was the party’s first Secretary-General while Dr Zwane became President. As Secretary-General, he was responsible for organising political rallies and meetings throughout the country.

 

The fight for independence intensified in 1963 during the first general strike called in Havelock Mines, Big Bend Sugar Estates and Mbabane. The demands were better pay, better housing and working conditions and immediate independence.

 

They also demanded the release and whereabouts of worker’s representatives from Havelock Mines. On September 6, 1968, all their efforts paid off as Swaziland became an independent country.

 

Prince Dumisa excelled academically and wished to further his education in the west. In 1967 he embarked on a Bachelors degree at Sussex University in the United Kingdom.

 

In 1969 in continued his educational journey and was granted a Fulbright Scholarship at Princeton University, USA, where he studied MA PhD Program. Princeton University is by far one of the best universities in the world.

 

In 1971 Prince Dumisa studied towards a B.Sc General Studies degree in marketing, business management and economics at Iona College, USA. In 1974  he moved to New York to study at the New School for Social Research where he undertook an M.A PhD Program which included a study on philosophy, economic analysis and social sciences.

 

When he returned home in 1975 he received a hostile welcome by the then ruling Imbokodvo national movement. Given his membership to the NNLC, he was suspected that he would cause ‘political instability’. 

In 1977 he was imprisoned without trial until 1980 on the strength of the 60 days detention without trial decree introduced by King Sobhuza when he abrogated the independence constitution in 1973. 

 

In 1980 King Sobhuza advised Prince Dumisa to leave politics and concentrate on business. He subsequently arranged that he works at Lonrho Plc in Scotland as Public Relations and African research and development. He worked there for four years.

 

In 1982 King Sobhuza II died, marking the beginning of political unrest in Swaziland. During the period between 1982 and 1986, the Liqoqo ruled Swaziland with an iron fist. It was during this period that one night in April 1984 Prince Dumisa was illegally deported from Swaziland to London by Prince Mfanasibili and the “Gang of Four”.

 

He left for England wearing only his pyjamas. He was told he would be provided for in the United Kingdom. However, three months later, the Swaziland Government decided to stop paying for the hotel he was staying in. As a result, all his possessions were confiscated and was left homeless and penniless in London. Luckily, he met a partner during this low point in his life and a daughter was to be born a year later.

 

Prince Dumisa lived with his wife and baby in a Bed and Breakfast for two years while constantly writing to the Swazi government asking for financial assistance. His requests were never answered. He was sustained by the British welfare system.

 

In April 1986 Crown Prince Makhosetive has crowned King Mswati III but his condition did not improve. In 1988 a new baby boy was added to his family. Even though King Mswati III and the Swaziland Government were aware of this they still refused to help him.

 

Prince Dumisa’s mother, Emelinah Nxumalo, got terminally ill and her dying wish was to see her son and two grandchildren (whom she had never met) before she died. Prince Dumisa made constant telephone calls and wrote numerous letters asking if he could return to bid farewell to his beloved mother.

 

Unfortunately, his request was ignored by King Mswati III and the Queen Mother. The Prince’s mother died in September 1990 her dying wish never fulfilled.

 

In 1999 King Mswati III visited London and finally agreed to meet Prince Dumisa on March 10. They had a lengthy discussion at the Dorchester Hotel in a meeting attended by his family, the High Commissioner at the time, the late Percy Mngomezulu, Simon Nxumalo and several Swazi delegates. During that meeting, the King thanked Prince Dumisa for his work and sacrifice to the Swazi nation and handed him £1000.

 

£1000 was the pay-out for fighting for independence, three years of imprisonment without trial, being sent to exile, losing all of his possessions and not being able to say goodbye or bury his mother. That is all Prince Dumisa received during his lifetime. This is nowhere near the cost of being sabotaged in every area of his life.

 

In August 1999 he returned to Swaziland for one month. It was a very emotional time as he was reunited with his children. He was also able to visit all his family and friends. What everyone didn’t know was that this was to be the last time they see Prince Dumisa alive.

 

In 2000 Prince Dumisa was diagnosed with cancer and had to have chemotherapy sessions. It was a deeply traumatic and stressful time for his family. They often had to escort the Prince to St Mary’s Hospital in London carrying his bags.

 

At the time, he was practically blind and they had to use a taxi to go to the hospital. Medication and taxi fares are extremely expensive in the UK and on several occasions, the family asked the King to provide some kind of aid to cover these costs. Again the King remained silent on such requests.

 

The late Prince Dumisa. The Prince was a nephew of the late King Sobhuza and the founding Secretary-General of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC)

 

On November 17, 2001, Prince Dumisa Dlamini died in London after spending 17 years in exile. On that day the hospital called to inform his family that the Prince was late and that they must come to identify his body and collect his personal belongings. The Swazi representatives in London were of little help and the family was forced to make the journey alone.

 

On November 22, 2001, the family arrived in Swaziland with Prince Dumisa’s corpse only to realise there was no official state funeral as promised. The Prince’s dying wish was to be taken to the Catholic church in Lobamba but this too was sabotaged. 

He was denied the state funeral he most rightly deserved and the Swazi nation deprived the opportunity to bid farewell to their courageous hero.

 

The family returned to London in December 2001 to try to piece back their lives after losing their husband and father. The expectation was that the Swazi government would provide some sort of aid to pay utility bills and school fees but were hugely disappointed.

 

The late Prince’s wife was forced to take on the role of both mother and father of the household. When she asked for financial assistance for her eldest child to attend university she was advised to return both children to Swaziland to continue their education. At that time King Mswati’s children were attending public school in England.

 

Meanwhile, Prince Dumisa’s children in Swaziland were barely surviving. After the death of his grandmother, the Prince’s son, Gudlulwandle, became a lost soul, wandering the streets of Swaziland. He had no home to call his own and would often get beaten regularly by his so-called family.

 

His troubled life came to an end in April 2007 when his battered and bruised body was discovered in the streets of Manzini. Not only was he murdered but his body remained in the morgue for six weeks. He was denied a dignified burial as his family in London was not informed of his death for a long time.

 

What is the heartbreaking is that Gudlulwandle was highly intelligent like his father. Instead of nurturing such a gift, it was destroyed. Like father, like son.

 

Although Prince Dumisa lived a life of pain, suffering and struggle he nonetheless lived an extraordinary life. In his lifetime he visited countries many could only dream of.

 

He obtained two MA PhD at Princeton University and the New School for Social Research, a Bachelor of Science degree at Iona College, USA, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sussex University, and yet another Bachelor of Arts degree from Roma University College in Lesotho. To say Prince Dumisa was highly educated is an understatement.

 

He lived in the USA, Scotland, England and Lesotho and visited Russia, Cuba, China, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa from among many other countries visited.

 

He was a freedom fighter who fought courageously against the British for independence. Throughout adversity, he continued to stand strong and always carried himself with class and integrity.

 

He also played a crucial role in the upbringing of his youngest children who have now grown up be intelligent, respectful, strong, determined and ambitious. The eldest was denied financial aid for her university degree but managed to graduate in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Business Management.

 

The Prince’s children one day hope that their father will get the honour he so richly deserved.

 

NB: This article was written by one of the late Prince’s relatives and posted on the now-defunct website of the Prince.

 

Nomvula Ntjangase

1 thought on “Remembering the life and times of Prince Dumisa, the unsung Swazi hero

  1. Editor forgot to mention the most painful event when the wife was refused entry into Swaziland when they wanted to bury the Prince.

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