A 22-years-old Tintswalo Ngobeni, who fled the advances of the polygamous 45-years-old King Mswati III of Swaziland and refused to be his 14th wife seeks asylum in the UK.
Miss Ngobeni, who now lives in Birmingham, was just 15 years of age when the king made his advances towards her after seeing her at the palace of his fourth wife, LaNgangaza. She said she was terrified when she learned of his marriage intentions. She added, "He started calling me at boarding school. he would ask me if i wanted to be part of the royal family. I had to keep quite about my fears but i knew i didn't want to get married to him and have a life devoted to the king. His wives are kept in their palace, surrounded by bodyguards and they can't really go anywhere without the king's permission. The only thing they do is go to America once a year, as the king gives them shopping allowance. I didn't have a choice, nobody has ever turned down the king or dare to disobey him, so i just disappeared."
Miss Ngobeni had to abandon a confortable lifestyle in a private boarding school as her aunt, who was her chief guardian, arranged her escape to Englad to join her mother, who moved to Birmingham five years earlier, fleeing an abusive husband.
Miss Ngobeni believes she is in more danger as her weekly protest outside the Swazi embassy in London with activist group Swazi Vigil has caught the attention of the authorities in her home country.
She said."Recently i had news that people had been sent from Swaziland to come and get me, which really scares me. If i went back, i would be arrested or much worse as there are people there who are tortured, beaten up or killed for being politically active."
She now lives in fear of having to return to Swaziland after her first plea for political asylum in England in 2007 was denied in 2011, which led to her arrest last month. She was taken to an immigration detention centre after 18 months of reporting weekly to the authorities.
After much pressure from Labour MP for Birmingham and other associations, Miss Ngobeni was released and granted an appeal by the Home Office. King Mswati III, who is the father of 27 children was a guest at the William and Kate wedding as well as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations last summer.
The king's sixth wife escaped from the royal harem last year, citing years of emotional and physical abuse by her husband.
|This is the Reed Dance ceremony known as Umhianga, when thousands of Swaziland's prettiest virgins dance topless for King Mswati III, every August, with hopes of being his next wife.|