The New York Times reports:
The country will henceforth be known as eSwatini, the kingdom’s name in the local language. (It means “land of the Swazis” in the Swazi — or siSwati — tongue.)
The king, who has reigned since 1986, announced the name change — an adjustment, really — during a ceremony in the city of Manzini on Thursday to mark his 50th birthday.
Many African countries upon independence “reverted to their ancient, native names,” The Associated Press quoted the king as saying. “We no longer shall be called Swaziland from today forward.”
According to Reuters, Mswati argued that the kingdom’s name had long caused confusion. “Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland,” the king said, according to Reuters.
The king had used the name eSwatini in recent years, including in addresses to his country’s Parliament, the United Nations General Assembly and the African Union. He said that the kingdom was reverting to its original name, before the advent of British colonization in 1906.
When Swaziland gained independence from Britain on Sept. 6, 1968, it retained its colonial-era name, unlike several other former British colonies in the region.
Nyasaland became Malawi on achieving independence in 1964. Months later, Northern Rhodesia achieved nationhood as the new republic of Zambia. In 1966, Bechuanaland was reborn as Botswana, and Basutoland changed its name to Lesotho. Rhodesia, following a 14-year period of white-minority rule that was not internationally recognized, became the new nation of Zimbabwe in 1980.
(click here to continue reading Swaziland’s King Wants His Country to Be Called eSwatini – The New York Times.)
Sounds legitimate to me. Why shouldn’t a country be named by its inhabitants instead of its former colonial overlord? I named my land outside Austin as Upper Yurtistan, why can’t eSwatini be an accepted new name? Granted eSwatini might have some bigger issues of corruption and so forth, but names are important too.