“IF you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart,” once said Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of the country from 1994 to 1999.
He had in mind that language that reinforces education in a population is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world (bring them unity and development).
This is precisely what President John Pombe Magufuli seems to be advocating while marketing Kiswahili language in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as the bloc envisions to achieve collective peace, alleviate poverty and economic development.
The language spoken throughout large parts of East Africa and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as a lingua franca, despite it historically being the mother tongue of a relatively small ethnic group on the East African coast and nearby islands in the Indian Ocean, is now gaining ground and should be relied on by other Pan-Africanists because it has the taste of African culture.
While in Windhoek, Namibia President Magufuli tasking for a Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), between Tanzania and Namibia to meet within two months’ time to discuss and explore areas of cooperation between them.
He was categorical that once Kiswahili is introduced as an official language for SADC, it will play an important role not only in connecting the regional bloc, but also other parts of the continent.
“Tanzania will provide Swahili teachers and other learning materials as a way to train Namibians to become Swahili teachers. I am very keen on seeing things happen,” he stated.
This is an opportunity which Tanzanians should exploit given the fact that the language is widely spoken in the country and from independence managed to unite a total of 159 tribes (ethnic groups).
It is time now for scholars to market the language by publishing several books, and doing research on how to further market the language in the continent not only in the SADC region.
It is a pity to Tanzanians that despite the language being familiarized with them, many renowned scholars in reputable global broadcasting stations have not been dominated by them because they take the language for granted, only to be valued by others.
With the government being at the driver’s seat, the citizens should know that this is a golden opportunity which should not be wasted as it had been in the past, and above all everyone knows it advantages since independence