THE SHISELWENI REGION
The very rural and fairly sparsely populated Shiselweni area runs across the sourthern section of Swaziland. The main town of Nhlangano (previously Goedgegun) began as
a centre for buying and selling farming supplies and farm produce during the 1920s, when the colonial government bought Goedgegun Farm from a G.M. Rudolph. In 1947, Britain’s King George VI with Queen Elizabeth and the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, famously
met King Sobhuza II there to thank him for the Swazi war effort. To commemorate this occasion, the town was subsequently renamed Nhlangano, which means meeting
place. Very much a rural town, Nhlangano’s main centre of entertainment is the hotel of the same name, although there are also several B&Bs in the area. About 28km to
the north is the picturesque village of Hlathikhulu, where the breathtaking Grand Valley begins. (See Scenic Route 5, Rural Grandeur page 43). This somewhat sleepy but
pleasant village offers a small hotel and a B&B.
Christianity in Swaziland
The Shiselweni Region was one of the first areas in Swaziland to embrace Christianity when the Methodist Wesleyan Mission was established in the area in 1844. The missionaries were welcomed with a gesture of friendship from King Mswati II in the form of a fat ox. The King accepted the Word of God and kept the scroll (Bible) at his residence. He granted the missionaries permission to spread the Word but told them they must not attempt to change the customs, culture and traditions. The Reverend J. Allison built a school at Sankolweni,
believed to be the first in Swaziland. This was later moved to Mahamba where it still stands today. On the way to the Mahamba Gorge between Nhlangano and the Mahamba border is a Gothic style Methodist church that was built in 1912 and is the oldest intact place
of worship in the country. EU funding has restored and preserved this wonderful piece of Swaziland’s history and a display board inside the church outlines the establishment
of Christianity in Swaziland.