Literature in Swaziland is a relatively recent phenomenon, and literary production by Swazi writers in siSwati and in English is somewhat limited. In turn, only minimal scholarly attention has been directed towards the nation's literature. This article offers a preliminary study of selected anglophone fiction, situating the texts within the genre of popular literature and examining how institutional and cultural forces have influenced its production and reception. I find that the generic constraints of the popular novel form often inhibit any real critique of oppressive paternalism embedded in local custom and tradition, while the more fully individualized short fiction attempts various forms of intervention. As a result, the authors produce contradictory visions of a postindependence Swaziland across their fiction, as their novels conform to the conventional demands of a publishing house concerned primarily with marketing educational texts, while their more textured short fiction often displays a marked ambivalence towards traditional structures.