IN his heydays Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to h im in his language, that goes to his heart,” and that dawn rec ently at the 39th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), members’ meeting in Tanzania adopting Kiswahili for their nationals and administrative affairs.
This is a language that is also officially a dialect at the African Union (AU), and the lingua franca in most of East Africa and parts of C entral and Southern Africa now.
Delivering his speech in Kiswahili as the Chairman of the SADC in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s President Dr John Magu - fu li made it clear that his country was willing and ready to prov ide the 15 member states with teachers and tutors to expand th e language in the regional bloc.
Before th at while visiting President South Africa, Malawi Namibia and Zimbabwe he openly showed willingness that Tanz ania would provide them with teachers and books on the lang uage.
In response, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa g ave the idea a go-ahead including his counterpart, Namibia’s h ead of State, Dr Magufuli showing interests.
It is good news that South Africa has already declared to start teaching Kiswahili in its Secondary Schools and some h igher learning institutions effective next year.
In East Africa 2017, Rwanda resolved to introduce Kiswah ili in its school curriculum following the government’s moves to adopt it as an official language.
With the background and the language being the fourth official language after English, French and Portuguese in SADC, i t is upon Tanzanians to make sure that the language is taught to th e areas professionally, because it is their baby.
That comes with the culture of restoring reading habit, bec ause if one does not read chances of growing and acquiring new terms and developing the language would meet a setback. In th is regard, Tanzanians must embrace the reading cultu re for their own to stay informed and for national betterment.
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the founding father of this nation, once said, “Books are very important way to knowledge and to self-improvement; from them we can learn new ideas; new tech - niques of working and new methods.
We can learn about the development of men in all its different aspects; we can broaden our understanding of other peoples and even of ourselves. All the experiences of mankind, all his discoveries and his inventions can be learned about through reading,” hence the ball is in our court as Tanzanians to either g room the baby (Kiswahili) or maim it.