The sound of chickens breaks through the silence at the Dlamini homestead in the rural village of Gundvwini. The village is 25km from the Eswatini town of Manzini, the epicentre of violent protests that gripped the nation in October.
As the last of the sun's rays peak over mountaintops, the homestead stands eerily quiet, the area devoid of men, as women in the family prepare traditional foods in large cast iron pots over smoky wood fires.
The sombre mood coincides with the expected arrival of the family's men — escorting son, Sabelo Dlamini, 34, to be buried amid his ancestors on a nearby mountain-peak.
Dlamini was allegedly shot by Eswatini police during a protest in Manzini on October 20.
His father, Tito Dlamini, mourns the loss of his son during the “senseless” violence.
“The problems we have here in Eswatini have been going on for a long time. We should sit down together and try to speak about them as a people. Fighting is not going to help us because our children are dying in the process,” he says.
Tito relied on his son, a taxi conductor, and hoped he would support his younger brother through his studies.
“Since June we haven't had any peace. Children have been in and out of school. We are not happy about that. We need to find a peaceful resolution,” he adds.
The family have said they plan to open a case against the police after completing Sabelo's burial.
The Dlamini family's woes add to an unstable society under King Mswati III, who many have criticised for not having his people's best interests at heart.