The Komati River (also called Incomati River) is a 480 km long river that flows in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. It is said that the name Komati is derived from inkomati (in the Siswati language) meaning “cow”, as its perennial nature is compared to a cow that always has milk. Given its name and meaning the name Komati is obviously a corruption of the Sanskrit Gomati, the name of a river with the same meaning – ‘plentiful in cow and therefore milk’. Gomati is the name of a river in India. Other rivers in Swaziland with Sanskritic names is the Lomati also called Miumati.

The Siswati language is the native language of Swaziland, it also goes by the name Swati. The Anglicised name of Swati is Swazi. It is from Swazi that Swaziland gets its name. The meaning of Swati and Swazi is otherwise unknown in the native languages though Swati is a Sanskrit word and is the name of a nakshatra (star constellation). In his book, ‘Fortunes of Africa: A 5,000 Year History of Wealth, Greed and Endeavour’, Martin Meredith states that Swaziland is named after the son of a Dlamini chief named Sobhuzha (1899-1982) who had retreated from the Pongola River and formed a new kingdom incorporating the Soho and Nguni tribes. His son’s name was Mswati – who himself was named after the name of the language. There are traces of Sanskrit in the Swati language, for example ‘mother’ translates as ‘ngenina’ equivalent of Sanskrit ‘janani’ (जननी) also meaning ‘mother’.

In his book, ‘Indo-Africa: Towards a New Understanding of the History of sub-Saharan Africa’, anthropologist, Hindu-expert and linguist, Dr. Cyril Hromnik, postulates that Dravidian traders and seafarers from the Gomti river in India in their quest for gold, travelled to South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique along with their Indonesian slaves during the first millennium AD. In time the sea-faring traders came to be known as the Komates – a distortion of their original home ‘Gomati’. In his researches Dr. Hromnik has deeply examined the background of the Komates gold miners of Eastern Transvaal and Swaziland by making systematic use of oral tradition and the early Indian scriptures, Jataka stories, and Tamil literature. He has linked the roots of the Komates to the early Dravidian seafarers who’s navigation skills took them to distant lands in their quest for gold.

The Komates settlements came up in Eastern Transvaal, Mozambique and Swaziland, where they settled around a naturally radioactive spring known to have healing powers – the town was known as Mpumalanga. Mpumalanga is strewn with the ruins of ancient temples among other stone structures which have been found to be aligned with star constellations, solstices and equinoxes.

Dr. Hromnik contends that it was the sea-faring Dravadians who erected these temples, stone-circle dwellings and astronomical observatories on mountain tops and built stonewalled cities from which they hunted, mined and traded throughout Southern Africa. He says that the Komates cohabited with the local people creating the Quena – or Hottentot – race. He also states that the genetic traces of the Komates are to be found in much of the contemporary South African population.


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