King renames Swaziland to ‘eSwatini’

SWAZILAND- The king of Swaziland, one of the world’s few absolute monarchs, announced on Thursday that his country had changed its name to eSwatini to mark 50 years since independence from British rule.

The name’s meaning is “place of the Swazi”, eSwatini is the Swazi language name for the tiny nation landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique.

Swaziland did not change its name when it gained independence in 1968 unlike many Africans who did. The country was a British protectorate for more than 60 years.

King Mswati III announced the name change during independence day celebrations at a full sports stadium in the city of Manzini.

He said wearing a red military uniform, “I would like to announce that Swaziland will now revert to its original name,”

“African countries on getting independence reverted to their ancient names before they were colonised. So from now on the country will be officially be known as the Kingdom of eSwatini.”

The name has angered some people of Swaziland because of its mix of Swazi and English language.

The name change has been considered since 2015. The King has used the new name before in previous official speeches.

Mswati III was crowned in 1986 aged 18, rules by decree and his frequently criticised for his lavish lifestyle despite the high levels of poverty experienced in Swaziland.

There are no political parties as they are banned from taking part in elections. The only candidates are the ones approved by chiefs loyal to the king who can stand for election.

The name change could possibilty mean that the country’s constitution is re-written, as well as changes for the Royal Swaziland Police Force, the Swaziland Defence Force and the University of Swaziland.

Photo Credit- The Star, Kenya

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