It’s not everyday when a country chooses to no longer identify with its name. Such is the case with Swaziland, where just last Spring decided that it would now be known by its indigenous name, eSwatini.
“For Swaziland’s 50th anniversary of independence from British rule last April, the country’s King Mswati III made a surprise announcement: the African country would no longer be called by its colonial name. Instead, the land would again be known by its indigenous name, eSwatini, meaning ‘the land of the Swazis’.
The announcement didn’t come without some initial confusion. “In siSwati, translated literally, the king said ‘the kingdom of eSwatini will now be known as the kingdom of eSwatini’.” said Jessica Elliott, an American who writes the travel blog How Dare She, who was present for the Golden Jubilee event. “It wasn’t until the English translation was spoken over the speakers that people understood and reacted. It got a surprised, but enthusiastic applause.”