Esté van Wyngaard As of Thursday, 19 April, South Africa is now a neighbouring country to the Kingdom of eSwatini, after the king of Swaziland, King Mswati III, announced that the country’s name has changed.
The change was announced during the country’s combined celebrations of 50 years’ independence as well as the King’s 50th birthday. The Daily Maverick reports that, according to King Mswati, the change was made because many citizens disliked “Swaziland”, as it is a combination of Swati and English words. He also said that, internationally, many people confused Swaziland with Switzerland.
According to various international newspapers, the change has been received with mixed emotions. Some feel that the new name, which means “the land of the Swatis” is something they can relate to better than the old name. However, many feel that the monarchy’s attention should be focussed on more urgent matters, such as the high number of people affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty.
As with many other countries which have gained independence, the Kingdom of eSwatini will once again be known by its original name, albeit 50 years after they gained independence on 6 September 1968. After the Anglo-Boer War Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967.
The country, ridden with poverty, will now be changing its name in all of ficial areas, as listed by BBC News. This includes the country’s constitution, the airline, the bank and the university. The government’s website, army and police forces still have to change to the new name. The country will also need a new internet domain, vehicle number plates and outfits for their international athletes.
The new name will also have to be registered with the United Nations and the Commonwealth. On a more positive note, the country’s national anthem will not have to change, as it doesn’t include the word “Swaziland” once. Passports for the country might also only be changed later, as the current passports do include “eSwatini”, the Swazi version of the country’s name, but it is in a smaller font than the other names printed.
As we get used to calling Swaziland the Kingdom of eSwatini, we are assured that this is still the same country that we knew and loved before.