Welcome to a scrapbook collection of items by the first Peace Corps [Swaziland 1] volunteers and other International Volunteers who served in Swaziland, now Eswatini, from 1968 to 1971. We hope you will contribute your images, writings and memories to this project.
The Unrest in Swaziland
In May 2021 the mysterious death of a student triggered an outbreak of unrest in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. Sporadic eruptions of protests, demonstrations, and rioting, along with arrests, violence, deaths and the suppression of dissent and media continue to today.
Sadly Wayne passed in late 2021 and his site was taken off line and its content lost.
Wayne writes, "
I was a member of the first Peace Corps group to serve in Swaziland, herein referred to as Swaziland 1. We did our training in Baker, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge. We flew to Swaziland in January of 1969.
"I am hoping that some of my cohorts will recognize the content and people in these photos and let me know. Each photo has a reference label in the lower left corner."
In Memoriam: Sadly Wayne Phillips passed away on Nov. 26, 2021 a victim of Covid 19.
Bingelela [Greeting], by Swaziland 1 volunteer Steve Hank, was created for the Peace Corps as a "Welcome video from the first Peace Corps Volunteers in Swaziland in 1968-70" to introduce new volunteers to the country. It would be the first film of his distinguished career in film that would conclude as Director of the Film Program at the University of New Orleans. Several members of Swaziland 1 are shown at their sites. View more of Steve's films here »
Chris Matthews' memoir This Country includes two chapters on his experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer with Swaziland 1 and many mentions of and quotes by other Swaziland 1 volunteers. View details from the publisher's website »
Film clip of Chris serving as a Peace Corps small business advisor in Swaziland by Steve Hank.
Fred Schwartz was a warm and lovable member of Swaziland 1, the first Peace Corps volunteer group to serve in Swaziland.
Fred died on January 11, 1970 in a highway auto accident near Piggs Peak that also took the life of South African volunteer Marcia Silver. Fred was serving as a rural development worker and had been engaged in a project to create a national woodcraft industry.
Home is an account of teaching in rural Swaziland written by Swaziland 1 Volunteer Ron "Bheka"
Pierce. Bheka returned to Swaziland in 1976 to teach English Literature in Swaziland
with his late wife and in memoriam co-author Britta at her father's rural mission high school. Their students addressed them by the Swazi
translation of their name ‘Pierce’, as ‘Magwaza’.
Finding their students largely isolated in
traditional Swazi culture, rarely seeing urban life and consequently having
little exposure to spoken or written English, the Pierce’s hit on the idea of
having their students keep a journal to fill that gap and encourage daily
In a manner akin to what the internet age has dubbed as crowd-sourcing, journal entries from over 60 different students were selected. These were assembled in
chronological order to form a multi-voiced day-by-day journal of 1976.
Sure, one could get to Mbabane the usual way.
Cross the plain to Malkerns Market,
pass the Royal Kraal of Sobhuza at Lobamba,
gamble to overtake chugging buses,
passing by comical South African tourists,
in pursuit of forbidden fruits at the Casino,
then climb out of the Ezulweni and enter Mbabane.
But there is another way to Mbabane...
It is farther but much more rewarding.
Travel back in time to 1969, Leave Manzini and head not west, but east. Then turn north on the road to Ekukanyeni...
A 1996 online tour by Lowell Boileau
Chosen as a
Yahoo Pick of the Week October 21, 1996
"Letters from Swaziland" is comprised of a trove of letters sent by Lowell Boileau to his family from 1968-1970 while serving with the first Peace Corp contingent in Swaziland.
"In 1968 I took break from my post graduate studies at the University of Michigan and joined the Peace Corps. The letters begin with the flight to Swaziland. This followed a 3 month Peace Corps training session in Baker, Louisiana where we studied siSwati, did practice teaching, underwent 'sensitivity training', got our shots and got to know each other."