Swaziland’s King Mswati III changes country’s name to Eswatini on birthday

Eswatini King Mswati III inspecting the guard of honour

King Mswati III

Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III has changed the name of the country Swaziland to Eswatini during the double celebration of his 50th birthday and an early version of the Kingdom’s 50th independence anniversary.

The Kingdom of Eswatini is the traditional name of the southern African country. The change now makes it the official name.

King Mswati III made the announcement on Thursday at the Somhlolo National Stadium in the capital Mbabane where hundreds of people were gathered to celebrate with him. The event was also broadcast live across the southern African region via cable television operator MultiChoice.
The Kingdom of Swaziland gained independence from Great Britain on 6 September 1968 and the king was born on 19 April 1968. King Mswati III ascended the throne at the age of 18 after his father’s demise and he rules Swaziland with absolute political and military authority.
The celebration comes a few weeks after the burial of the king’s eighth wife Senteni Masango, who was reported to have committed suicide. The king picked his 14th wife last year as custom demands during the annual Umhlanga or Reed Dance ceremony.
Last week, there were clashes in the country after over 2,000 people joined a rare demonstration organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) in Mbabane.

Police fired rubber bullets at the protesters who were marching to the prime minister’s office to present a petition against excessive spending towards the celebration. There were allegations that claim the government purchased a fleet of luxury BMWs among other accusations which the government denies, reports AFP.
The demonstration was rare especially because Swaziland is noted for stifling dissent and mass protests.

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