Mswati III became king in 1986, aged 18 [File: Carlo Allegri/Reuters]
The king of Swaziland has announced that his country’s name has changed to eSwatini.
The declaration by King Mswati III on Thursday was made during celebrations marking the monarch’s birthday as well as 50 years of independence from British colonial rule.
“I would like to announce that Swaziland will now revert to its original name,” the king said at a packed sports stadium in Manzini, the country’s second city, AFP news agency reported.
“African countries on getting independence reverted to their ancient names before they were colonized. So from now on the country will be officially be known as the Kingdom of eSwatini,” he added.
The tiny landlocked nation in southern Africa gained full independence in 1968, after being a British protectorate since the early 1900s. But unlike some countries, it did not change its name.
Meaning “place of the Swazi”, eSwatini is the Swazi language name for the country.
The name Swaziland angered some citizens as it is a mix of Swazi and English.
The move has been mooted for several years, with legislators considering the issue in 2015. Mswati III has used the new name in previous official speeches.
10 Most spoken Languages in Africa
In a continent rich with diversity as Africa is, there are 200 languages from over 100 tribes and countries but not all languages are equally popular. Of all the diverse languages, tribes and groups, there are 10 languages that are more widely spoken than others.
#10 – Berber
The Berber language is the tenth most widely spoken language in Africa. The Berber languages are a group of 26 closely related languages that constitute a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. They are spoken by 14 to 25 million people in Northern Africa throughout the Mediterranean coast, the Sahara Desert and Sahel, an area which used to be dominated by Berbers before the arrival of the Arabs. Today, there are large groups of Berber-speaking people in Morocco and Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya, and smaller groups in Tunis, Mauritania, Burkina-Faso, and Egypt.
#9 – Oromo
The Oromo language is Cushitic language widely spoken in the Horn of Africa and other surrounding nations including Ethiopia, Somali, Kenya, and Egypt. The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and account for up to 40% of the entire population. It is most widely spoken native language in Ethiopia with over 24 million speakers.
#8 – Amharic
This is the seventh most widely spoken language in Africa. It is the second largest Semitic dialect on the continent after Arabic. It is the official language in Ethiopia, with more than 25 million native speakers, and is spoken outside Ethiopia by about 3 million emigrants. Amharic is one of the very few African languages that uses its own alphabet, while most other languages use either Arabic or Latin letters. The Amharic language is also associated with the Rastafarian movement common in the Caribbean. Many Rastafarians also learn Amharic as a second language, as they consider it to be a sacred language.
#7 – Igbo
This is the native language of the Igbo people of Nigeria, one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. However, the only place it has official status is in Equatorial Guinea, where it is recognized as a regional language. It’s also spoken in Cameroon. It is spoken by approximately 27 million people. The language has more than 20 dialects, with Central Igbo being the most prevalent.
#6 – Yoruba
Yoruba is one of the principal languages of Nigeria and is also spoken in other countries in West Africa. Significant Yoruba populations in other West African countries can be found in Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. It’s a tonal language with 3 tones and is written using the Pan-Nigerian alphabet, a variation of the Latin alphabet. Approximately 39 million people speak it as their first or second language
#5 – Hausa
Hausa is the fifth largest language on the African Continent. It is classified as a member of the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. Hausa is the most widely spoken as a first language in Nigeria and as a second language in Nigeria as well as many other West African Countries. There are more than 63 million speakers of the Hausa language in Africa. Most Hausa speakers live in Northern Nigeria and the Southern Republic of Niger. The language is also popular in Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo as well as Chad. The language originated from a dialect in Kano, Nigeria, where most of the Hausa speakers are located. It is widely used in business and education in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. Besides, it is one of the few African languages that are taught in International Universities due to its immense literature.
#4 – Swahili
Swahili or Kiswahili is the fourth most popularly spoken language on the Continent. This is a Bantu language that is spoken as the first language among the Swahili people of East Africa. It is estimated that speakers of Swahili language in Africa are more than 100 million, but only about 15 million speak it as a first language. Kiswahili is the national language in Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Shikomor, which is the official language of Comoros, is considered a dialect of Kiswahili as the two languages are closely related. The Swahili language has its origins along the coastal lines of Kenya and Tanzania. A huge chunk of the vocabulary in Swahili is derived from the Arabic language because of the interactions of the Arabic traders and the coastal people of East Africa from the 15th and 16th century. There are also other Swahili words that have been originally derived from German, Portuguese, English, Hindustani and French. The language is recognized and spoken in many countries on the continent including Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands.
#3 – French
French, is a European language that was introduced in African through colonization. There are about 115 million Africans who use the language as their first or second language. The language, which originated from France, is mostly spoken in former colonies of France in West and Central Africa. In Africa, French is often spoken alongside indigenous languages, but in some areas, it has become a first language, such as in the region of Abidjan, Ivory Coast or Libreville, Gabon. Among the countries that speak French in Africa include Togo, Senegal, Seychelles, Rwanda, Re-Union, Niger, Mali, Madagascar, Guinea, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Congo, DRC, Algeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Burundi.
#2 – English
English is the second most popular language on the continent. Only around 6.5M million Africans speak English as a native language but when you include people who learn it as a second language, the number of English speakers jumps to about 130 million. The language, which originated in England in the United Kingdom, was introduced in Africa through the colonization of Africa by the British. Many former colonies of Britain have adopted English as their official language for government, business, and education. Many other countries have plans in place for adopting English in their countries, despite not being former colonies of Britain. For example, Rwanda, which is a former colony of France, is quickly encouraging its citizens to learn and speak English as the country integrates itself into the East African community. English is spoken in 23 African countries including Botswana, Cameroun, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, St. Helena, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
West African Pidgin English is a creole language with about 75 million speakers. It’s not commonly written down, but the BBC recently began broadcasting in pidgin and created a written standard.
#1 – Arabic
Arabic is the most widely spoken language in Africa based on the number of people who speak the language. However, the language is mostly concentrated in North Africa and some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that there are more than 150 million people who speak Arabic as their first language in Africa, making it the most spoken language on the continent. Arabic comes in a number of flavors—Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial dialects. If you learn Modern Standard Arabic, you’ll be able to communicate with most Arabic speakers around the world. Modern Standard Arabic is the more formal form of the language, which is used in news articles, novels, newscasts, and some TV shows. However, native speakers do not always learn this form of Arabic. Instead, they learn variations of Arabic that is adapted to their culture in a way that Modern Standard Arabic is not.
Arabic speakers on the Continent of Africa make up over 50% of the total speakers of Arabic in the world. Arabic is the official language of many African nations including Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. It is also spoken in Tanzania (Zanzibar), Western Sahara and Somalia.
School Girls in Kenya Are Asked To Take These Compulsory Tests and Women’s Rights Campaigners Are Outraged
Girls in western Kenya returning to school after the Christmas break are undergoing compulsory tests for female genital mutilation in a move to crackdown against the illegal and harmful practice, a senior government official said on Friday.
They are also being tested to see if they are pregnant.
George Natembeya, commissioner for Narok County, said many girls were being forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) during the school vacation, and pregnancies following this traditional “rite of passage” were common.
“We have the highest rates of teen pregnancies in the country, and FGM is widespread in some communities in Narok, but it is difficult to detect these cases as it is all underground and secretive,” Natembeya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“The tests will help us to better support girls who often have to hide their pregnancies and health complications after undergoing FGM. We will also be able to prosecute men who defile them, and go after their parents who force them to undergo FGM.”
The move has sparked outrage among women’s’ rights campaigners who said the compulsory tests are demeaning and would further victimize and traumatize girls.
FUN PUZZLE: What Did This Ghanaian Mother Name Her Son?
In Ghanaian culture, children are sometimes given a “day name” which corresponds to the day in the week that the child is born.
Can you solve the puzzle below?
David’s mother is Ghanaian and has 4 children. The oldes child is a bubbly boy who was born on a Friday so she named him Kofi. The 2nd is a beautiful girl born on a lovely Sunday so she named her Esi. The 3rd is a handsome young fellow who was born on a Monday so she named him Kojo. The youngest child is a lovely little baby boy who was born on a Thursday.
What did she name him?
Ghanaian Male Names
- Sunday: Akwasi, Kwasi, Kwesi, Akwesi, Sisi, Kacely, Kosi
- Monday: Kojo, Kwadwo, Jojo, Joojo, Kujoe
- Tuesday: Kwabena, Kobe, Kobi, Ebo, Kabelah, Komla, Kwabela
- Wednesday: Kwaku, Abeiku, Kuuku, Kweku
- Thursday: Yaw, Ekow
- Friday: Kofi, Fifi, Fiifi, Yoofi
- Saturday: Kwame, Kwamena, Kwamina, Kobby
Ghanaian Female Names
- Sunday: Akosua, Akwasi, Akos, Esi, Awesi
- Monday: Adwoa, Adjoa, Adzoa, Adwoma, Ajoba
- Tuesday: Abena, Araba, Abenayo
- Wednesday:Akuba, Abla, Akua, Aku, Kukua, Akuma
- Thursday: Aba, Yaa, Baaba, Awo
- Friday: Afua, Afia, Afi
- Saturday: Ama, Oheama, Ameyo
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