WTF Friday, 5/17/2013

This just in: Witches in Swaziland can no longer fly their broomsticks at altitudes higher than 150 meters.

This news comes courtesy of a spokesman for the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, explaining the aviation regulations in the aftermath of the arrest of a detective accused of “operating a toy helicopter equipped with a video camera.”

Local media seem unsure whether the prohibition was meant seriously, although one report points out that while Swazi witches are known to employ brooms to “fling potions,” they do not use them for transport.

In any event, witches: you have been warned.

Ill-Advised Birthday Parties: Part II

Yesterday Swaziland celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence, and the 40th birthday of its king, in the creatively named “40-40 Celebration.”

King Mswati “always the groom, never the best man” III is perhaps best known for (1) being the 15th richest monarch in the world, and (2) marrying a lot of women. In fact, just last week Swaziland held its 10th annual All-Virgin-Topless-Reed-Dance to assist the monarch in choosing his 14th wife.

Despite criticism of the appropriateness of holding a $2.5 million celebration in a country where 70% of the population subsists below the poverty line, the Swazi government pushed forward with 40-40 day. As this AP article points out, the number 40 is significant to the Swazi populace for a number of less festive reasons: Swaziland has a 40% unemployment rate, a 40% adult HIV infection rate, and is, per the CIA World Factbook, currently one of only three countries in the world with a life expectancy in the world below 40 years.

So happy 40th birthday King Mswati, and happy 40th birthday Swaziland. Although I’m betting one of you probably enjoyed it more than the other…