Last month, King Mswati III of Swaziland announced the country’s name change to the “Kingdom of eSwatini”. This announcement was made as the country celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence.
The King has been using the name eSwatini a number of times in previous speeches. The new name means “land of the Swazis”. Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in Africa, and the name change was criticized by many who thinks the King should focus on more pressing issues such as low employment rate and low life expectancy due to high HIV rate. While others welcome the name change as a signal being sent by the King to officially reclaim the Swazis heritage and the country’s identity from the colonial-imposed name of “Swaziland”.
Obviously, changing the name of the country is going to be easier than claiming its independence 50 years ago. However, it will take some time for the country’s new name to be registered with international organizations as eSwatini and all references to Swaziland to be changed to eSwatini. In the meantime, travellers going in-country should be aware that they have landed in the right country if they see the name referenced as eSwatini!