Will future historians look back upon Angela “LaGija” Dlamini as the great tea-leaf reader of Swazi politics? In recent days, her husband, the absolute monarch King Mswati III, has come under an unusual amount of fire for his profligacy—it is still tough to imagine, for example, why he merited a new $46 million jet, or a birthday party that would put Karen Kozlowski’s infamous shindig to shame. Dlamini perhaps sensed that her spouse was verging on his Marie Antoinette moment when she decided to split:
Angela “LaGija” Dlamini had been unhappy for a long time and had thought of leaving for many years, a royal guard told SSN. She left the palace to visit her parents in Hhohho, northern Swaziland. From there, she disappeared and was believed to be staying with relatives in the Mkhuzweni region of the country, said Lukhele.
LaGija is the third of the king’s wives to leave the royal household. According to a 2004 report in the Daily Sun, the first to flee was Delisa Magwaza, 30, known as Inkhosikati LaMagwaza, who made her way to London via Cape Town. She was followed by Putsoana Hwala, 30, known as Inkhosikati LaHwala, who left behind her three children.
Mswati’s 12th wife Mswati Nothando Dube, 22, known as Inkhosikati LaDube, was placed under house arrest at the home of the king’s mother in 2010 after an alleged affair with Swaziland’s justice minister Ndumiso Mamba. Mamba was fired.
Predicting the fall of a dictator is a mug’s game; strongmen have a way of clinging to power long after their popular support has entirely evaporated. But when even the most privileged members of the inner circle start fleeing, it’s not too much of a stretch to predict that a full implosion looms—though perhaps not until Swaziland’s richest neighbor decides to speed along the process by tightening its purse strings.
If nothing else, King Mswati III’s crooked reign reaffirms an old Microkhan axiom: Never put much faith in a regime that puts living political figures on its currency.