Africa's Last Kingdom
So this past Friday, I woke up-- in typical fashion-- to a group text that includes my sisters, younger brother, and my mom. My second oldest sister had sent us a CNN article about the King of Swaziland, King Mswati III, changing the nation's name to the Kingdom of eSwatini. Now, to the casual reader this might not be a big deal, but for me this news rocked my entire weekend for a few key reasons.
For starters, as son of a Swazi father and brother to Swazi sisters (yes I was conceived in the tiny Kingdom before being born in the US), I've always had such a hard time describing to people where/what Swaziland is. I have my usual tour guide list of facts: surrounded on three sides by South Africa and on one side by Mozambique; the most geographically diverse nation per square mile on the African continent, all in an area slightly bigger than Connecticutt; an unfortunately high HIV/AIDS rate. But inevitably, someone always thinks I'm talking about Switzerland. And it's annoying as hell. It sounds like the confusion with Switzerland was at least a small part of the decision to change the name.
The cooler and more significant part of this story, though, is the fact that the King has given the country back its pre-colonial name. Unsurprisingly, Swaziland has some British colonial history, and returning the nation to its pre-Anglicized name is a huge nod to the future of a self-identified and sovereign African future.
Finally, let's not pretend like all our tongues aren't wet for some African Kingdoms since #BlackPanther came out!! Come on!!! I can't lie-- the sense of pride I have in being related to the last absolute monarchy on the African continent is massive. So much so that I'm putting out a song called "King's Court" in a couple short weeks to show my love and pride in my Swazi and South African roots. Even though the song was made back in 2015, it encapsulates the qualities I strive to embody as King of my own domain. And to make it better, it even sounds like Wakanda. Can't wait to show it to you.