PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday challenged Kiswahili students to embrace the language as a money minting opportunity, saying the government is committed to promote it as a major medium of communication in its national and international activities.
“We have resolved to have firm infrastructure to support availability of Kiswahili interpreters and teachers for increasing demand, as we have recently experienced emerging demand of Kiswahili teachers from the neighbouring countries,” Mr Majaliwa stated during the launch of the General Kiswahili Dictionary here.
He stated further that the government appreciated the role of Kiswahili in the promotion and protection of national unity, stressing: “It is Kiswahili that makes us Tanzanians”.
The premier specifically commended President John Magufuli for his dedicated efforts to use the national language in all national events like conferences, debates, seminars and teaching in schools.
“President Magufuli has spearheaded the use of Kiswahili in meetings and other important events he hosts for visitors from outside the country,” said Mr Majaliwa, imploring all Tanzanians—parents, parliamentarians, journalists, interpreters, translators, authors and communicators—to get and use the dictionary.
Speaking at the launch, the Tanzania Kiswahili Council (BAKITA) Executive Secretary, Dr Seleman Sewangi, said the Kiswahili word list was prepared to address the shortage of vocabulary in the language, hinting that 100m/- was spent on the project.
He said the council executed the project in partnership with Longhorn Publishers Limited of Kenya. The dictionary has 45,500 root words, special cultural labels, illustrative sentences and many new words, said the council chief, describing the glossary as unique and the first of its kind to have been published in the world.
Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said the dictionary had come at an opportune time when Kiswahili language was gaining prominence in the world.
He said currently Kiswahili is the tenth widely spoken language globally and second In Africa. “… and soon Kiswahili will be the most spoken language in Africa. As Tanzanians we have to be proud of our language,” Dr Mwakyembe emphasized.
Chairman of Longhorn Publishers in Tanzania Khatibu Senkoro said Kiswahili was a tradable product, saying Tanzania should come up with articulate strategies to reap maximum benefits.