Why This Country Just Changed Its Name.

At a double celebration which occurred at Mavuso Sports Centre on Thursday, April 19, 2018 to commemorate 50 years since both the independence of his country from being a British protectorate and the day he was born, Mswati III — who is the king of Swaziland and head of the Swazi royal family — declared that the new name for Swaziland is now the Kingdom of Eswatini.

Why This Country Just Changed Its Name.

The main reason for the name change is to avoid what had apparently been constant confusion between Swaziland and Switzerland by people around the world.

“Such is not unique to Swaziland as other countries in Southern Africa changed their names after independence, with Bechuanaland becoming Botswana, Southern Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe and Nyasaland becoming Malawi”, according to this article written by Bodwa Mbingo of Swazi Observer. “Other former British protectorates on achieving independence also changed their names and Northern Rhodesia became the new Republic of Zambia and Basutoland changed its name to Lesotho.”

The country was apparently originally called Eswatini prior to the colonial era; and after 50 years of independence which was attained on Friday, September 6, 1968 — as well as on his 50th birthday — Mswati III believed that the commemoration of that milestone was the right time to revert the name of the country back to its initial name of Eswatini.

The name change may not be as cumbersome as the process of becoming an independent state; but it is not without problems or issues. The process — which is expected to start soon with a legal instrument — must take into account the constitution, Internet web sites, currency, official airline, road signs, postage stamps, official institutions and other entities must undergo an official name change to match the new name of the country; and the name will also need to be registered with the United Nations and other international organizations.

Fortunately, the official national anthem will not need to be considered, as the name Swaziland does not appear even once. Newer passports already currently use the name Eswatini.

According to the aforementioned article, “The responses to the decision to change Swaziland to Eswatini have been divided. While some are happy to move away from the name Swaziland — a mix of  Siswati and English — others feel the change detracts from more pressing issues in the country, such as the high poverty rate and the world’s highest levels of HIV.”

Summary

I guess I can no longer say that I have been to Swaziland; but rather, I have been to the Kingdom of Eswatini?

I personally have never confused Swaziland with Switzerland — nor have I ever confused Austria with Australia.

Swaziland is a small country which takes great pride in its arts and crafts; and the people are friendly and helpful — despite supposedly being one of the ten countries with the highest murder rate.

Please read my trip report of what turned out to be a place at which I would highly recommend staying, which had incredible views of Execution Rock — which is shown in the photograph at the top of this article — and the Ezulwini Valley, which means Valley of Heaven.

I still have to post the articles with photographs of the views — but trust me on this one: the views alone were worth visiting the country.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Why This Country Just Changed Its Name.”

  1. Christian says:

    So there were no concerns about being confused with Sweden? I’m half Swiss, and while Switzerland and Sweden have been confused hundreds of times in my hearing, I have to say that never has Swaziland been confused for either that I’ve heard.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I never have either, Christian; but I also do not recall ever confusing Sweden with Switzerland, either.

  2. Lloyd says:

    Austria?! Well then, g’day mate!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      G’day to you too, Lloyd

      …und hallo. Wie geht es dir?

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