Which Countries Border Eswatini?

The Ngwenya mountain range on the border between South Africa and eSwatini.
The Ngwenya mountain range on the border between South Africa and eSwatini.

The Kingdom of eSwatini is an African nation situated on the southern edge of the continent. The kingdom was previously referred to as Swaziland, but King Mswati III ordered the name to be changed to eSwatini on April 8, 2018, when the nation was commemorating the 50th anniversary of its independence. The name eSwatini was chosen since it means the land of the Swazi people. The shape of eSwatini's borders, like most of the nations within the African continent, was greatly influenced by events that occurred during the colonial era. The borders of the kingdom of eSwatini are roughly 340 miles long, and share its land boundaries with the two nations of Mozambique and South Africa. Because eSwatini is a landlocked nation, it does not have any maritime borders.

Development of eSwatini's Borders

Archaeological evidence indicates that human societies have made their home within eSwatini's borders since at least the Stone Age period. During much of the modern era, the Swazi community has had the most significant impact on the shape of the nation's boundaries with one of the most influential leaders being Ngwane III and Mswati II. The Swazi people established their dominance in their present-day territory during the reign of King Ngwane III and later during the reign of King Mswati II, one of the most famous warrior kings of the Swazi. The Swazi territory expanded rapidly, and it encompassed a territory more than twice its present day size. During the scramble for Africa, the British government officially declared that it recognized the independence of the Swazi people. Despite their official recognition, the British government would later make it a protectorate. eSwatini became an independent nation in 1968, and it inherited the boundaries made during the colonial era.

The Border with South Africa

eSwatini and South Africa are separated by a border stretching roughly 267 miles long that happens to be eSwatini's longest land border. South Africa surrounds most of the eSwatini, particularly in the northwestern and southern sections. Before the border between the two nations was established, individuals could freely move from one nation to another. The free movement of people between eSwatini sand South Africa contributed to strengthening the cultural ties between the two nations.

The Border Dispute Between South African and eSwatini

The government of eSwatini and the South African government were involved in a border dispute in 2017. The border dispute stemmed from the fact that he Border Determination Special Committee, a committee of the eSwatini government, declared that eSwatini had a historical claim over vast sections of South Africa. The report published by the committee was part of a government directive referred to as pan-Swazism, an initiative through which they plan to instill a sense of oneness in all the people of Swazi descent even those outside the nation's present-day borders. However, the governments of eSwatini and South Africa have already put in place a draft agreement to settle the disagreement.

The Historical Relationship with South Africa

Due to their proximity, the ties between the two nations date back to the ancient times. During the colonial period, eSwatini became a British protectorate as a result of the British victory in the Anglo-Boer war. When it was a protectorate, the nation was governed from South Africa. eSwatini was able to resist becoming part of the Union of South Africa mainly due to the leadership and shrewd political maneuvering of Sobhuza II.

Modern Ties Between South Africa and eSwatini

In the modern era, eSwatini and South Africa have close ties in several fields such as economic development, infrastructural development, and trade. When South Africa was under international sanctions due to the oppressive apartheid regime, some businesses transported their goods through eSwatini to avoid international scrutiny. During the apartheid period, the government of eSwatini also harassed members of the African National Congress who were within its borders. Experts believed that at the time the eSwatini government aided the South Africans in the hope that they could recover land they believed belonged to the kingdom since it was home to a large number of ethnic Swazis. The relationship between eSwatini and South Africa improved dramatically after Nelson Mandela took over the leadership of South Africa. In South Africa, the Swazi government is represented by a High Commission located in Pretoria. On the other hand, in eSwatini, the South African government is represented by an embassy situated in Mbabane.

The Border with Mozambique

eSwatini and Mozambique are separated by a boundary roughly 68 miles long that is located in the northeastern edge of eSwatini. The land boundary between eSwatini and Mozambique was determined during the colonial period when Mozambique was under the control of the Portuguese.

The Border Dispute Between Mozambique and eSwatini

The governments of eSwatini and Mozambique were involved in a border dispute due to the report published by the Border Determination Special Committee. According to Prince Sicelo, the claims by the Swazi government to what they believe to be their ancestral land was an attempt to ensure that the Swazi people knew their roots.

The Relationship Between Mozambique and eSwatini

In the past, before the Swazi people had established their kingdom in their present-day territory, they had previously inhabited a section of modern-day Mozambique. However, they did not last long in the area as they were driven away by the Ndwandwe people. In the modern era, eSwatini and Mozambique cooperate on some issues such as trade, security, and economic development. According to data from the UN COMTRADE, eSwatini imported goods worth $16.97 million from Mozambique in 2007.

Security Along the eSwatini Border

The government of eSwatini faces numerous challenges in trying to keep its border safe such as smuggling of goods across the border. The government of eSwatini has set aside vast sums of money to improve the security along the border, The government of eSwatini has also agreed to cooperate with neighboring governments, particularly South Africa to improve its border security.


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