By Paul Nyathi|King Mswati III of Swaziland has announced an immediate change of the country’s name to Eswatini.
Mswati made the announcement on Thursday at a joint celebration of the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary and his own 50th Birthday held at Somhlolo Stadium in the second capital city Manzini.
Eswatini is a SiSwati word for Land of the Swazi people.
Unlike some countries, Swaziland did not change its name when it gained independence in 1968 after being a British protectorate for more than 60 years.
“I would like to announce that Swaziland will now revert to its original name,” said King Mswati amidst huge cheers from the crowd.
“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 does not come as a surprise as the general population in the country has been using the name more than Swaziland. The name Swaziland was not favoured by the citizens because of its Swazi and English mix.
The move has been mooted for several years, with lawmakers considering the issue in 2015. Mswati III himself has always referred to the country as Eswatini more times than Swaziland.
The name change will warrant that the country’s constitution be rewritten.