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In each and every country there’s a specific native language used to communicate with each other and in most cases we conclude  a person’s country by the language that  person speaks. In Eswatini our native language is siSwati. It amazes me when I hear someone speaking silver-tongued siSwati in other countries, especially South Africa, where most use Zulu as their language. My teacher once told me that she mistakenly spoke siSwati in America and one man heard her and said ‘lona wasekhaya’.


So native languages are important such that you can find your people in faraway places and that is unifying. Our native language helps us connect and communicate with one another. It also helps us understand and appreciate the history of our ancestors and our upbringing. Inasmuch as native languages are important, I have noticed that our language as emaSwati is slowly vanishing or changing completely into something new. This is concerning because the next generation will not find the pure culture language. Most of the time I listen to the radio and there’s a presenter  known as ‘Mdokis’ who corrects people who speak wrong siSwati. He always says ‘ningasoneli siSwati setfu’ and I salute him for that. I have heard someone saying ‘emambongolo’ instead of ‘timbongolo’ (donkeys). And there is this word which is becoming a norm yet it is very wrong; most people now say tinsita instead of saying labo labanika lusito’.


Wait until you hear someone saying ‘tiloli’ instead of ‘emaloli’ and you will understand why I am concerned. Parents now expect their children to speak English to show that teachers are doing their work, but at the same time these children forget about their mother tongue. It may sound ‘classy’ to speak English but the fact is that we are emaSwati. I strongly believe that children should maintain their mother tongue so they can have a better understanding of the language. I would like to also urge the nation to consider establishing a siSwati newspaper. This will show how vital the language is and keeping it as pure as possible. Yes English allows us to be able to communicate with people from almost all parts of the world but that doesn’t mean we should neglect our native language. Engabe sisilahlelabani lesiswati setfu?

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