19 April 2018

Swaziland: King Renames Swaziland As Eswatini, Citing Colonial Past - - and Confusion With Switzerland

Photo: Darron Raw
His Majesty, King Mswati III.

The king of the tiny African nation of Swaziland announced the kingdom's new name would be eSwatini. Unlike some other countries, Swaziland maintained its colonial name after independence.

Swaziland's King Mswati III said Thursday that he was officially changing the African kingdom's name to eSwatini.

Africa's last absolute monarch, King Mswati III announced the changes at celebrations marking 50 years of Swazi independence from Britain and his 50th birthday.

"I would like to announce that from today onwards, our country will be known as the Kingdom of eSwatini," the king said at Golden Jubilee celebrations in the second city of Manzini .

eSwatini means "land of the Swazis" in the local Swati language.

Unlike some countries, the landlocked nation between South Africa and Mozambique did not change its name after winning independence from Britain in 1968.

Read more: Zimbabwe marks 'new independence,' minus Mugabe

"African countries on getting independence reverted to their ancient names before they were colonized. So from now on the country will be officially be known as the Kingdom of eSwatini," the king said.

He also said many people abroad confused the country with Switzerland.

"Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland," the king said.

Known for his lavish lifestyle in a nation with crushing poverty and an HIV/AIDS rate of 27 percent, King Mswati III has ruled by decree over his 1.3 million people since taking over the throne from his father at the age of 18 in 1986.

One of his father's more than 60 sons, King Mswati III has 15 wives and more than two dozen children.

cw/rc (AFP, Reuters)

More on This

Swaziland Name Change - How Much Will it Cost?

King Mswati III has announced that Swaziland's name has been changed to 'eSwatini', Deutsche Welle reports. The… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Deutsche Welle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.