Swaziland’s King Mswati III has changed the name of Swaziland to eSwatini, journalist Nomesa Maseko tweeted.
The monarch made the announcement at the dual celebration to mark his 50th birthday and the country’s 50 years of independence.
The kingdom of Swaziland – or should we say Eswatini – is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies where the king rules by decree over his subjects.
Here are some facts about the kingdom based on entries on Wikipedia
Swaziland, now eSwatini is a sovereign state in Southern Africa. It is neighboured by Mozambique to its northeast and by South Africa to its north, west and south; it is a landlocked country.
At no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west, eSwatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa; despite this, its climate and topography are diverse, ranging from a cool and mountainous highveld to a hot and dry lowveld.
After the Anglo-Boer War, eSwatini was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967. It regained its independence on 6 September 1968.
The country is an absolute diarchy, ruled jointly by Ngwenyama (“King”) Mswati III and Ndlovukati (“Queen Mother”) Ntfombi Tfwala since 1986.
The former is the administrative head of state and appoints the country’s prime ministers and a number of representatives of both chambers (Senate and House of Assembly) in the country’s parliament. The latter, meanwhile, is the national head of state, serving as keeper of the ritual fetishes of the nation and presiding during the annual Umhlanga rite. Elections are held every five years to determine the House of Assembly and the Senate majority. The current constitution was adopted in 2005.
Swaziland is a developing country with a small economy. With a GDP per capita of $9,714, it is classified as a country with a lower-middle income.
The Swazi population faces major health issues: HIV/AIDS and, to a lesser extent, tuberculosis are serious challenges. As of 2013, it has the lowest estimated life expectancy in the world, at 49.18 years. The population of Swaziland is fairly young with a median age of 20.5 years and people aged 14 years or younger constituting 37.4% of the country’s total population. The present population growth rate is 1.195%.