During the celebration of Swaziland’s 50th birthday this last April, King Mswati III made the announcement that the country is now to be called the “Kingdom of Eswatini.” Although HopeChest has been aware of this name change, we waited respectfully for the go-ahead from our Swazi staff to make the change as an organization.
Children’s HopeChest President and CEO, comments, “Identity is an extremely powerful human emotion. Our friends in Eswatini are seeking to reclaim a stronger sense of national identity and pride by calling their country and themselves by what they want to be called, not what others decided in colonial expansion. When a stronger sense of identity is exercised properly, this can be a good and wonderful tool to spur the nation to tackle many of its own problems.”
To announce and kickoff this exciting change and reclamation of national identity, we have asked our Swazi staff some questions to help us understand this move forward.
Can you give us an overview of why the king chose the name Eswatini?
It was a celebration of peace and harmony. The king took this opportunity to change the name since it has always been Eswatini. Swaziland was the colonial name, so this was a way to be completely independent. -Matt, Country Director of Eswatini
What does it mean to native Swazi’s that the name is changed to Eswatini?
The older generation always called it Eswatini, so it could have been out of respect to our grandparents. – Musa, Communication and CarePoint Reporter
Do you know of a powerful story from Eswatini that illustrates the dignity and honor we are trying to communicate with the name change?
This is a monarchy, so the king said the name is changing, and that is what will happen. By calling it Eswatini, we are showing respect for the change and the older generation. It is an affirmation and speaks to their heritage. – Matt
Is “Swazi” still the most appropriate term for talking about people from Eswatini?
Yes, we still use Swazi. Eswatini means “land of the Swazi’s,” so they are still Swazi’s. -Matt
What is the new name for the Swaziland Leadership Academy?
Still SLA. Swazi Leadership Academy. The people are still Swazi’s, so we are dropping the “land” from Swaziland Leadership Academy. – Bheki, Senior Manager of Programs
We are thrilled to celebrate this name change with our Swazi staff and will be using Eswatini in future communications!
“HopeChest, as an organization, has dignity and honor as key core values and the recent name change of the country of Swaziland represents an opportunity to reflect dignity and honor! Using the Eswatini name the king and the locals are now using as the name of their country is central to our desire to see dignity in our relationships. This country desires to be called Eswatini, thus we should do so.” – Children’s HopeChest President and CEO
Please join us in making this important change as we respect our Swazi friend’s new country name.