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The King of Swaziland, on his 50th birthday, renamed the country

Now it is called eSvatini (it is in this writing).

King Swaziland Mswati III (in the center, with the biggest weapon). AFP photo
King Swaziland Mswati III (in the center, with the biggest weapon). AFP photo

King Swaziland Mswati III announced the renaming of the country in eSvatini (“Swazi country”). Ruling since 1986, the only absolute monarch of Africa used this name for several years, but until recently it had no official status.

The change of the name of the country Msvati III proclaimed at the opening of the celebrations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Swaziland’s independence from Britain. These festivities coincided with the 50th anniversary of the local monarch, born on 19 April. At the same time, Independence Day of Swaziland is celebrated on September 6.

According to Mswati III himself, he decided to rename the country in order to get rid of the confusion when it was mentioned in English: ostensibly foreigners often confuse the words “Swaziland” and “Switzerland” (Switzerland).

The renaming of the country caused misunderstanding among its inhabitants, many of whom considered it more appropriate for the king to be interested in other issues. As of 2017, almost two-thirds of Mswati III’s subjects live below the poverty line, and the average life expectancy in the world’s most HIV-infected country is 49 years.

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