Those African countries who have decided to end colonial names: The case of “eSwatini” (ex-Swaziland)
The former Swaziland, a country located between South Africa and Mozambique, was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. In the spring of that year, April 18th, Mswati III, the king, took the opportunity to make a announcement: the change of name of the country. Today, it is necessary to say “eSwatini” (which means “the country of Swazi” in Swati language.)
For the king of eSwatini, at the time of independence, most African countries have changed their name by abandoning those inherited from colonization. His country, one of the last to have kept the name given by the colonists, could not persevere in this way.
The Cameroonian case, “river of shrimps”
Last week (September 6, Editor’s note), the official account of President Paul Biya tweeted a congratulatory message to the eSwatini, on the occasion of their national day. The opportunity was good to draw a parallel between the two countries, at least as far as their name is concerned.
At a time when voices are rising on the continent to call for an end to the colonial heritage, a country like Cameroon can it engage in such approach?
In Senegal, for example, since this year, the country is mbarked on a vast encyclopedic project, culminating in 25 volumes of the General History of Senegal, written by Senegalese. This project, which includes the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar among the actors, is also part of the will of the Senegalese government to completely overhaul its school system.
About Cameroon, the official version is known by everyone: the Portuguese, watching the abundance of shrimp in the estuary of Wouri, did not look far to named the place “Rios dos camaroes” (The river of shrimps). The name “Cameroon” would come from there. If we had to translate that into our languages, so we are “shrimps”?
And for so many african cities, how do you see it?
For example, the case of “Yaounde”: how to proceed so that the name known to all (Ongola Ewondo) becomes the official name of the city? In short, Abidjan, Libreville, Brazza, & co, which names from our African languages (starting with those used by local natives) could be used to designate our cities? © Dzaleu.com
Do you like what we are doing?
(A trilingual website with an african language)
Support us here