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NOKWANE- “There should be wearing of traditional regalia for pupils in public schools every Fridays.”

This was an appeal made by Prince Bandzile during the Babukisi National Siswati Awards launch, which took place at Royal Swaziland Technology Park (RSTP) Nokwane yesterday. The event, hosted by Babukisi Foundation, was themed ‘Lwati, nebuve yingcebo,’ which loosely translates to mean ‘knowledge and nationality is wealth’. The event saw the awarding of three pupils, who did exceedingly well in a Siswati language competition, as well as their teachers. All three pupils will get an opportunity to fly to Johannesburg in South Africa (SA) courtesy of Eswatini Air. The prince and his wife, Inkhosikati LaMnisi also made a contribution of E3 000 to the pupils.  


Meanwhile, making a preamble to his remarks, the prince expressed that it was pleasing to note that siswati was made a compulsory subject in schools. He said this was commendable in that it promoted the culture. Prince Bandzile shared that while studying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), what stuck with him was how he noticed that the people there always wore their traditional regalia on a daily basis. “Likewise, even us emaSwati could adopt a similar custom, in that every Friday, all pupils should be in traditional wear. This should be done in all government schools,” the prince suggested, to the ululation and clapping of hands in the auditorium.

Prince Bandzile said by so doing when a learner goes to school in the morning in full traditional regalia, it instilled the spirit of patriotism and love for culture among young emaSwati. He added that this also encouraged pupils to know their identities. The prince also recommended that subjects should be taught in siswati. He made an example of some television programmes which were broadcast in a country’s native language. On another note, the prince mentioned that although the coronavirus pandemic stalled a lot of national events, which were the pride and identity of Eswatini, it was a relief when the pandemic ended.


He substantiated the relief with the fact that the first event hosted in the country was the Reed Dance Ceremony, which united emaSwati. He said this showed the importance of cultural events, as they portrayed the essence of culture and Eswatini identity. Prince Bandzile commended Babukisi Foundation for the great initiative it had started, and further congratulated the winning learners who would fly to Johannesburg courtesy of the foundation. He said by their travelling, it meant that our culture would not only end in the kingdom, but would be shared with others in South Africa (SA) as well.  He said nations should be educated about the Swati culture, as encouraged by Their Majesties.

The prince alluded to that this was a beautiful opportunity for the learners to learn about other cultures and appreciate their own. He also extended his appreciation to the RSTP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for allowing the event to be hosted at the technology park. Babukisi Foundation Director Thobejane Magagula said the core mandate for establishing the foundation was to ensure that the rich Swati culture was preserved and passed on from generation to generation. Magagula said he understood that the vision he had did not belong to him, but to emaSwati.


He shared that the programme was started in March 2012 at St Michael’s, where someone conducted a lesson in siswati culture and traditions. “From then on, we have been visiting several schools throughout the country, where we have been imparting knowledge on the culture in visual form,” Magagula said. The director elaborated that a lot of Swati songs relayed history. He said some songs were created when forefathers were happy, while others were sad songs. Magagula shared that her grandmother once told her that emaSwati were not affected by stress, as they composed songs in their time of distress, as means to deal with their issues.

Magagula said the event yesterday was the fruition of a dream to award emaSwati children who excelled in siswati. He said they should since be appreciated so that others could be motivated. He explained that while in the process of preparing this, RSTP offered flight tickets for the stars to travel to SA, as well as sponsored educational films created by students who are enrolled in the institution. Director of Education in the Ministry of Education and Training, Dr Ntombenhle Dlamini, extended her appreciation to Babukisi Foundation for educating pupils in schools since 2012. Dlamini said she was aware that the foundation especially played a role in paper three of siswati, which tested learners about the culture and way of life of Eswatini, which was the way of life for emaSwati. She reiterated the ministry’s gratitude for promoting the culture, which she said was the wealth of the country.