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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Southern African nations have sent envoys to the tiny kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, to engage with King Mswati III about the political and civil unrest that has engulfed the country in recent weeks.

The 16-nation Southern African Development Community sent top officials from Eswatini’s neighbor South Africa and the nearby countries of Botswana and Namibia.

Eswatini has been embroiled in pro-democracy protests by demonstrators demanding sweeping reforms including the removal of King Mswati, who has ruled the mountainous country since 1986 as an absolute monarch where all political parties are banned.

Mswati is accused by activists of ordering the country’s security forces to violently suppress the demonstrations. The pro-democracy activists accuse King Mswati of living a lavish lifestyle with more than a dozen wives while the majority of the country’s 1.1 million people are in poverty. Eswatini is one of the world’s least developed countries.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the regional bloc’s committee on defense, politics and security, announced Thursday that a delegation consisting of representatives from the bloc’s nations would go to Eswatini.

The delegation is led by South Africa’s former justice minister Jeff Radebe. The regional body sent a delegation earlier this year and was criticized for not meeting with representatives of the pro-democracy movement.

Mduduzi Simelane, a dissident member of Eswatini’s parliament who faces arrest for his involvement in pro-democracy activities, said the situation in the country is worsening.

“We hope that as Ramaphosa sends these envoys to Swaziland, they will be looking to address the problems of the people of Swaziland, not only to listen to Mswati,” said Simelane, using the country’s previous name, which was abruptly changed by the king in 2018.

“We are not sure whether this action was spurred by the violence that Mswati unleashed on people yesterday (Wednesday), or what the motivation is,” said Simelane, who said he was speaking to The Associated Press from hiding as he feared for his life.

The king’s government has tried to suppress the demonstrations by restricting internet access as videos of the unrest had spread on social media.

MTN Eswatini, the country’s biggest mobile operator, confirmed in a statement on Thursday that it had been instructed to close some services.

“The business has implemented the directive and access to Facebook and Facebook Messenger has been suspended,” said Eswatini MTN.

“We will continue engaging with the relevant stakeholders to minimize the impact and duration of the service disruption,” the group said in a statement.

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Southern Charm’s Kathryn Dennis reunites with kids Kensie, 7, & Saint, 6, after they spend Thanksgiving with their dad

SOUTHERN Charm's Kathryn Dennis reunited with her kids Kensie, seven, and Saint, six, after they spent Thanksgiving with their dad Thomas Ravenel.

Kathryn's reunion with her kids comes after losing a vicious custody battle to Thomas and breaking down admitting that she "misses her babies" after splitting with her boyfriend Chleb Ravenell.

5Southern Charm's Kathryn Dennis was reunited with her kids after ThanksgivingCredit: Instagram / Kathryn Dennis 5Her two children Kensie, 7, and Saint, 6, spent the holiday with their father, Thomas RavenelCredit: Instagram / Kathryn Dennis

The 30-year-old reality star shared photos of her two kids at an outdoors dinosaur park after time apart as Kensie and Saint spent time at their father's for Thanksgiving.

In the first photo shared to Kathryn's Instagram stories showed her kids climbing on a giant open dinosaur mouth and she captioned it: "We have arrived."

The second was a cute photo of Saint peaking his head out of a cracked dinosaur egg, which Kathryn captioned: "Baby dinosaint."

Her next photo showed both of her children playing in the dinosaur eggs, while the fourth and fifth photos were sweet portraits of Kensie.

In Kensie's closeup, her adorable freckles were highlighted and she smiled brightly up as she spent quality time with her mom.

This was the first time Kathryn was reunited with her kids since they spent Thanksgiving away from her.

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Thomas, 59, shared a clip of their kids sending a sweet message to his Instagram followers to commemorate the holiday.

In the short clip, the Bravo star recorded his daughter, Kensie, seven, and son Saint, six, sitting in a booth at the Waffle House, as they wished everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving."

His eldest child, Kensie, did most of the talking as she sipped her orange juice, smiling at the camera.

Thomas asked the little ones questions about the holiday and the days surrounding it as they gave their responses.

Kensie finished her father's sentence when he asked what Thanksgiving was "also-known as," which she replied, "Turkey Day."

The conversation continued with Thomas asking the kiddos what the proceeding day was, which Kensie answered with a smile: "Black Friday."

The TV star then guided their responses to explain why they will be avoiding the shopping malls on the busiest shopping day of the year.

"Because there's too many crowds," Kensie elaborated before Thomas ended the clip.

FAILED CUSTODY BATTLE

Back in March, Kathryn lost custody after Thomas accused her of using drugs and neglecting her kids - allegations which she denied.

Last month, the TV personality broke down in tears recently and admitted that she was "missing her babies."

Kathryn also shared a picture of herself crying and ending her message with: "But some days it be like that..."

The model has been open with fans about her nasty custody battle with Thomas. 

She shared on Instagram: "There will be a lot more difficult times than good times when you are without your kids."

Thomas has another son, Jonathan Jackson, with his ex Heather Mascoe.

KATHRYN'S RAGE

In August, Kathryn slammed the "family court system" as "exhausting" after Thomas won full custody.

Kathryn noted: "It is exhausting to constantly defend yourself from someone who is trying to change reality - it can even make you question what you know happened, or what is true.

"It can be exhausting to live two lives: One for your children and for the world (everything is fine), and the other where you are beaten down by the family court system.

"We see you and we stand with you. You are not alone."

The Sun previously revealed Kathryn temporarily lost custody of her two children, as she now has supervised visitation every other weekend. 

A source told The Sun: “She has supervised visitation during the day Saturday and Sunday every other weekend."

SINGLE AGAIN

Kathryn was occupying her time away from the little ones with her boyfriend Chleb Ravenell until it was revealed last week that the pair had split.

Kathryn and Chleb went Instagram official with their relationship in October 2020 and took things a step further when they moved in together this past April.

A source told Us Weekly: “She broke up with him and they are no longer living together.

“There is no bad ill-will between them.”

The mother of two reportedly wanted to “get married again and have more kids,” but Chleb refused to make that commitment.

The insider added: “Her future husband would have to be this amazing stepfather to her children and be someone who would make a serious commitment to her, and [Chleb] just wasn’t that.

“They weren’t meant to be and even friends of hers picked up on it. She has so much love in her life as is with her little kiddos.”

5Kathryn lost custody to her children after Thomas accused her of using drugsCredit: Thomas Ravenel/Instagram 5Kathryn broke down into tears and admitted she 'misses her babies'Credit: Kathryn Dennis/Instagram 5The star is recently single after her split from boyfriend Chleb RavenellCredit: Instagram/@_kbkilla Southern Charm star Kathryn Dennis' ex Thomas Ravenel spends Thanksgiving with their kids after her split from boyfriend We pay for your stories!

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