Swazi


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Swazi

 

a people living in Swaziland, where they constitute a majority of the population, and in adjoining regions of the Republic of South Africa. Their self-designations are Ama-Swazi and Ama-Ngwane (Swazi and Ngwane are the names of leaders who lived in the first half of the 19th century). There are approximately 300,000 Swazi in Swaziland and approximately 350,000 in South Africa (1966, estimate). Their language, Sis-wati, belongs to the Bantu family. Most Swazi adhere to traditional beliefs connected with ancestor and nature worship. The rest are for the most part Christians (Baptists).

The Swazi united as a people in the first half of the 19th century as a result of wars and migrations of Zulu, Sotho and Shona tribes in what is now Swaziland. Their chief occupations are land cultivation (maize, sorghum, wheat, legumes) and animal husbandry (cattle, sheep). Approximately 20 percent of the Africans in Swaziland do not have land allotments and work on cotton and coffee plantations belonging to Europeans. A considerable number of Swazi men are forced to find work in South Africa, where they are subjected to cruel exploitation and racial discrimination.

REFERENCES

Narody Afriki. Moscow, 1954.
Potekhin, I.I. Formirovanie natsional’noi obshchnosti iuzhnoafrikanskikh bantu. Moscow, 1955.

Swazi

 

(Siswati), the language of the Swazi people and one of the official languages of the Kingdom of Swaziland, spoken by approximately 650,000 persons (1966, estimate). Swazi belongs to the southeastern zone of the Bantu language family. Its phonetic features include the presence of clicks and lateral fricative consonants. At morpheme boundaries, stops become affricates and fricatives under the influence of semivowels, and fusion and loss of vowels occur. Concord classes are marked by disyllabic prefixes. Locative, diminutive, and augmentative concord classes are absent; the corresponding categories are expressed by means of derivational affixes, which do not affect the concord in the syntagm. Sentence word order is subject-predicate-object; the postposition of attributes is strictly observed. The writing system is based on the Latin alphabet.

REFERENCES

Engelbrecht, J. A. Swazi Texts With Notes. Capetown, 1930.
Ziervogel, D. A Grammar of Swazi (Siswati). Johannesburg, 1952.

N. V. OKHOTINA

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