Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly named as Swaziland, is an African country located in southern side of the continent. Swaziland name change was carried out on 19th April 2018 by King Mswati III. The administrative capital of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) is Mbabane whereas, the royal capital is Lobamba. It has a population of 1.0 million people, according to the figure obtained in 2018. The currency in use is Swazi lilangeni. The article would explore ten Swaziland Facts or information on the Kingdom of eSwatini.
1. Swaziland name change was carried out in 2018
The country was formerly named as Swaziland, until in 2018 it was renamed to Kingdom of eSwatini. The name change was carried out by absolute monarch, King Mswati III. The name change announcement was made in an auditorium when the country was celebrating 50 years of independence. The word eSwatini means Land of Swazis; which seems to be a pretty nationalistic name.
King had argued in the support of his decision of name change, that European people often called the country Switzerland instead of Swaziland.
2. King of eSwatini (ex-Swaziland) is an absolute monarch
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that King Mswati III, at the time of writing this article, is the last absolute monarch in Africa. King calls himself a Lion which in local language is named as Ngweyama. The renaming act of the country shows that King of eSwatini rules by decree.
The king himself has 15 wives and concept of women rights is foreign to the local culture. It’s said that the predecessor had 125 wives. Women enjoy their rights as per the bounds determined by the local culture, which are often challengeable in Europe. King of eSwatini (King Mswati III) has often propagated his views against divorce. He said in a ceremony that the word divorce is absent in Siswati (local language).
After the freedom of Swaziland in 1968, the monarchy in 1977 overtook the country’s control. In a series of amendment to the colonial constitution, the new constitution made the king an absolute monarch.
3. Kingdom of eSwatini had gained independence from Britain in 1968
In the late 20th century, as most countries in Africa were gaining independence, Swaziland also became free. It was formerly ruled by Britain. The kingdom was annexed by Britishers in 1877 for sake of making it their home. Later in 1894, the status of Swaziland was converted into a protectorate of Britain. Later, the rulership was transferred to a British Commissioner in 1906.
Later, in 1963 a limited form of self government, under a reform package was provided by the Britain. It was not until 6th September 1968, Swaziland obtained its freedom.
4. Christianity is the major religion in Kingdom of eSwatini
Almost 90% of the population follows Christianity. There are different sects being followed such as, Zionism (40%), Roman Catholicism (20%), Anglican, Methodist, Mormon and Jehovah witness.
Zionism is the lend of Christianity and indigenous worship methods and beliefs in eSwatini. Catholics beliefs indicate that bread and wine is the body and blood of Christ, much of the other views are similar to the Anglicans. Similarly, Methodists have different views from the major Catholicism beliefs, such as they believe that Jesus Christ died for all of humanity. Mormons adhere to the Catholicism as well as the preachings of Joseph Smith. Jehovah witness adhere to Christianity yet they don’t believe in Trinity.
Muslims constitute 2% of the followers.
5. Kingdom of eSwatini suffers from poverty and weak economy
The 1m people strong country is not strong in economy. It also has the world’s highest HIV cases percentage, although in recent years the growth of HIV/Aids has been flattened to some extent. The uneven distribution of resources and class gap is a major contribution to the country’s poverty.
The economy of country is mostly dependent on agriculture; however, outdated cultivation method has caused a low yield of crops over the course of years. The government is dependent for its income in foreign reserve through remittances from South Africa. Workers leave eSwatini for working as labourers in the neighbouring country; South Africa.
The GDP of eSwatini was $4.7bn in 2018. Around 73% of the GDP of eSwatini is dependant on Trade. In order to sustain a better future, the Kingdom of eSwatini would need to transform their society into knowledge based value-addition society.
6. Kingdom of eSwatini is smaller than New Jersey
It’s a landlocked country and happens to be one of the smallest in Africa. It’s located between Mozambique and South Africa with an area of 17,364 sq km. If you want to compare it with some American state then it would be safe to say that eSwatini is slightly smaller than New Jersey. The country offers a mountainous terrain, because of it the population distribution is unevenly spread across the entire territory.
If we rank smallest countries in Africa when compared in area, Seychelles is the smallest with an area of 451 sq km. eSwatini comes on 7th rank out of 54 countries in Africa in terms of area.
7. Flag of eSwatini was adopted in 1968
After Swaziland gained independence from its colonial master, Britain; a flag was adopted for the new country. Its design is based on a military flag. It serves as a memory of the country’s military traditions and culture.
It’s notable that red section in flag represents battles fought in the past. The blue portion in the flag is a hope of peace. Further, a shied in the centre with two spears show the military trend. It symbolises the readiness of eSwatini against any enemy.
8. Reed Dance festival allows King to choose his next Wife
Every year a Reed Dance Festival is arranged in which virgin girls take part. The festival ends for seven days and over 25k unmarried girls of the eSwatini take part in it. These girls wear cultural clothes and the festival provides a chance to the king for choosing himself a new wife.
In the facts about South Africa, we had mentioned such a festival taking place in Swazi people. The dance is carried out before the Queen Mother.
9. eSwatini has twin capitals one for administration and other for legislative purposes
Mbabne is the administrative capital whereas Lobamba is the legislative capital. It’s worth noting that Mbabne is the largest city in eSwatini. There are embassies and consulates in the city. Capital Mbabne was preferred due to its central location and better weather conditions as an administrative capital.
Lobamba is the seat of the legislative assembly of eSwatini. It’s also the home of the royal family. Mswati III, the current King of eSwatini lives at the Lozitha Palace; whereas the Queen Mother resides in Ludzidzini Royal Village.
10. Umbutfo eSwatini Defence Force is the armed military of Kingdom of eSwatini
UEDF is known as the official military of the country. It never got involved in any foreign conflict. The force is deployed for border and custom duties. The airforce wing is pretty small. The minuteness of the airforce can be observed by two accidents in 1980 and 2004 which left it crippled due to the loss of two aircrafts. Later in 2000, France donated three utility helicopters to eSwatini.
United States delivered a passengers plane which is currently used for official purposes in eSwatini. Back in 2002, when King of eSwatini had tried to purchase a jet, the move was blocked due to the street protests. Later in 2012, a gift of plane was received by the King Mswati III. King said that the development partners had given him the plane as a gift.