eSwatini celebrates 50 years independence

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LOBAMBA, SWAZILAND - AUGUST 28: Mswati III (C) attends a traditional ceremony, Umhlanga Festival at Ludzidzini Royal Village in Lobamba, Swaziland on August 28, 2016. Umhlanga, also known as Reed Dance, is a traditional ceremony of Kingdom of Swaziland. Reeds which are chosen by thousands of Swazi girls, are used for making fence of kingdom house. It's symbolize the social labor and social solidarity. (Photo by Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

ESwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is celebrating 50 years of independence marking  half century of sovereignty from colonial rule.

In April 2018, King Mswati III had announced that the country would henceforth be called the ‘Kingdom of ESwatini’. It was a lead up to the independence day celebrations.

King Mswati III of Swaziland (C) arrives at the annual royal Reed Dance at the Ludzidzini Royal palace on August 28, 2016 in Lobamba, Swaziland.
Umhlanga, or Reed Dance ceremony, is an annual Swazi cultural event where tens of thousands of Swazi girls travel from the various chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini Royal Village to participate in the eight-day event. The Reed Dance is a beauty pageant at which King Mswati III can choose a new wife from one of tens of thousands of young virgins who come to dance before him. / AFP / MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

He wanted to stop the confusion between Swaziland and Switzerland, whose English name is ‘Switzerland’.

ESwatini is distinguished by their rich culture and unique government structure as a diarchy. Ruled jointly by King Mswati III and the Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala since 1986, the king is the administrative head of state while the queen is the national head of state with focus on serving as keeper of the ritual fetishes of the nation and presiding during the annual Umhlanga rite.

LOBAMBA, SWAZILAND – AUGUST 28: People perform shows during a traditional ceremony, Umhlanga Festival at Ludzidzini Royal Village in Lobamba, Swaziland on August 28, 2016. Umhlanga, also known as Reed Dance, is a traditional ceremony of Kingdom of Swaziland. Reeds which are chosen by thousands of Swazi girls, are used for making fence of kingdom house. It’s symbolize the social labor and social solidarity. (Photo by Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Maidens sing and dance during the annual royal Reed Dance at the Ludzidzini Royal palace on August 28, 2016 in Lobamba, Swaziland.
Umhlanga, or Reed Dance ceremony, is an annual Swazi cultural event where tens of thousands of Swazi girls travel from the various chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini Royal Village to participate in the eight-day event. The Reed Dance is a beauty pageant at which King Mswati III can choose a new wife from one of tens of thousands of young virgins who come to dance before him. / AFP / MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

For the king, this name “Swazi-land” was a heritage of the British passage and its change marks the end of the colonial era.

The decision to change the name did not come suddenly. , King Mswati had on several occasions mentioned Swaziland as the “land of the Swazis”, or ESwatini.

In 2017, he had used this term during the General Assembly of the European Union and also at the opening of the 2018 parliamentary session.

However, the decision was not viewed favourably by some citizens. They believe that this decision comes at a time when the country is facing more important issues such as the economic situation or lack of access to medical care.

Most Swazi people struggle to earn a living in agriculture, often cultivating sugar. There is widespread poverty in a country with the world’s highest HIV/Aids rate.

The impoverished southern African nation, a member of the Commonwealth, gained independence from Britain on September 6th, 1968.