In 2012, Swaziland was a small landlocked country in southern Africa ruled by King Mswati III. Sixty three percent of the country’s population lived below the poverty line. Government spending on education had continuously decreased since 2008. With the economy virtually stagnated, the International Monetary Fund had urged the government in February 2012 to reduce the size of its civil service.
Swaziland borders South Africa and has a population of about one million. At the time of the campaign Swaziland had the world’s highest HIV infection rate and was both one of the poorest nations in the world and the home of Africa’s last absolute monarchy. While King Mswati III was a largely popular figure in Swaziland, he angered Swazis with his lavish lifestyle and high number of wives. Between 2000 and 2010, activists worked to promote a democratic government.