Given an opportunity to choose between money and the Bible, which one would you go for? Well, for the Swazi Nation, the Bible was the very best choice to select. This 3 meter gold sculpture portrays King Sobhuza I of Swaziland, the very first King who played a crucial role in the introduction of Christianity in the country. This magnificent golden stature is located at the King Sobhuza Park, in Manzini, Swaziland. King Sobhuza 1 reigned between 1815 to 1836.
Traditionally, Swazis believe that God is the supreme King and is the creator of every existing thing. This came about during the reign of King Sobhuza 1 in 1836. The King had a dream where he saw some strange people with white skins, and hair similar to that of a cow tail. In the dream he saw the people approaching the country Swaziland, with caravans being pulled by oxen. These people carried a Bible in one hand and money on the other hand. In the dream, King Sobhuza I received an instruction from God to choose the Bible and reject the money.
From there, King Sobhuza commanded his son who would later become King Mswati 1 to search for the people he saw in the dream. These people were found in the neighbouring country South Africa, and they were invited to come to Swaziland to teach about God.
Unfortunately, the people (missionaries) belonging to the Methodist church only arrived in Swaziland in the year 1844 after King had passed away. From that year to-date, Christianity still stands as the main official religion in Swaziland. The King’s right arm is raised in the air, showing the bible as the most powerful weapon used by the Swazi Nation to fight both internal and external battle. His arms are wide open as per the directive he received from God during the dream, to welcome every immigrant who comes into the country Swaziland, to love them and live in peace with them.
With the advice from King Sobhuza 1 to make peace with all settlers entering the country, this has further worked in favour for the Swazi nation in terms of building relations with European countries as well as others around the globe.