The Swati language, also known as Sewati, Swazi or siSwati, is one of many Bantu languages and it belongs to the Nguni group. It is mainly spoken in such countries as South Africa and Swaziland. It is worth to mention that in South Africa, the Swati language is considered to be one of 11 official languages of the country. It is taught in schools, both on the optional and compulsory basis. Swati is closely related to such languages as Ndebele, Xhosa, and Zulu. These languages bear some similarities and that is why are often confused to be the same language by those with an untrained ear.
There are four main dialects of the Swati language. They are Hhoho, Nandzini, Shiselweni and Shiselweni. Each dialect is used in particular district of the country. Also, the language can be divided into two main strains. The first one is a regular Swati language used in the South and North West of South Africa. The other one is represented by the Swati language influenced by Zulu and spoken in the very south of South Africa.
Today’s home of a Swati community where the language is most widely spoken can be found on the north-west from KwaZulu-Natal, nearby the Ususthu River. The area was settled by the Swati people in 1750 when the Swazi successors in South Africa decided to relocate to find a shelter from the warriors and fearsome king, Shaka Zulu.
Today, the population of people who speak the Swati language is estimated at about 1,5 million speakers. It is worth to mention that many Swati speakers also speak Zulu.