Saving the Swazi Language and Culture

Feb 12


Charlene Lacandazo

Charlene Lacandazo

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The Swazi language is one of many that have come under increasing pressure from the dominance and popularity of English. Much can be done to make sure that this important carrier of local culture will not disappear.


The Swazi or Swati language is a Bantu language of the Nguni group,Saving the Swazi Language and Culture Articles which is widely spoken in Swaziland and by people in South Africa. The Swazi and English languages are both official languages of Swaziland; and hence, these are both significant in schools and government communications.

Swazi culture and language remains well-preserved by the people; nowadays, most Swazi people still live the traditional way, wearing traditional clothes, etc. Due to the famous traditional culture and rich language of Swaziland, many foreign people with different cultures want to know about the Swazi language and heritage.

The Swazi language is just one of the interesting aspects of the Swazi people; the Swazi language is referred to as ‘’siSwati’’. It is a tonal Bantu language, which is more likely closely related to the Zulu language. Thus, some people may confuse the sounds of Zulu and Swazi language speakers, however, linguists are clearly determine the differences between the two.

As the world is experiencing globalisation, many cultures and languages are in danger of being dominated by other major languages. Just like any languages and cultures, the Swazi language is in danger of being dominated by Western cultures and language, particularly the English language. In addition, due to the rapid Westernisation of the people, it negatively affects the linguistic status of a language, and this includes the Swazi language.

Moreover, the very substantial influence of the Western culture on the Swazi people doesn’t only affect the language of the people, but it also significantly affects the rich literature and culture of the Swazi people. Swazis that have migrated from the rural to urban areas have changed their beliefs that Swazi literature is a form of art and entertainment, but now consider that television, newspapers, magazines, and radio are the most effective forms of entertainment.

The limited usage of Swazi literature by the Swazi people that have migrated to urban areas has certainly caused the importance of their literature as a form of entertainment to decline. Many people would usually distinguish Swazi culture as one of the more unique cultures in the world; however the reality is that their language and heritage is slowly being eradicated due to the natural influences of globalisation.

Both linguists and experts believe that the Swazi language and culture are both endangered because of the lack of a good education system, and thus, it is necessary that the Swazi government itself implements a better education system that would help to revive and enrich the Swazi culture.

Language and culture are the most essential factors in making the heritage of a country special and unique. However, if language or culture would be ignored and left endangered, it can slowly but surely eradicate the very identity of a country.

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