KISWAHILI language is rapidly growing not only in Tanzania, East Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and Africa in general, but also in other countries across the world.
It is now used as an official language in the SADC region, the African Union (AU) and the East African Community (EAC).
Moreover, the Embassy of Tanzania in France, in collaboration with the Association of the Tanzanian Diaspora in France, has introduced a programme to teach Kiswahili to promote it overseas.
This will not only market the language, but also the Tanzanian culture, the geography and history of the country and tourist attractions. We can say that these aspects are linked to the country’s language as we believe learning another country’s language may include learning its culture, geography, history and even its tourist attractions.
According to Tanzanian Ambassador to France Samwel Shelukindo, so far 50 students have enrolled on a Kiswahili course online. Not only that, Kiswahili course is offered to 240 students at one of the biggest universities in France – the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations.
Above all, last year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) acknowledged Kiswahili as a continental language destined to facilitate african integration on the occasion of marking the 22nd Edition of International Mother Language Day in Paris, France. This is according to what is reported on page four of ‘Daily News’ – yesterday’s edition.
So, there are good signs for Kiswahili to grow further and become an international language. What we have to do is to increase the vocabulary and expressions so that we can explain well things without having to look for words or use too many words to explain only one thing. There are already these efforts, but we can do more in this regard.
As we develop Kiswahili and as we envisage making it an international language, let us also learn other international languages and understand them well to help us communicate easily with development partners and learn from them what suits our context and we can implement it in our own country.
There are some Tanzanians who speak and use English, French, Germany, Italian, Arabic, Chinese and other languages, including some African languages. This is already an asset to them if they want to go for further studies in countries using those languages or for farmers or businesspeople find markets for their goods and products. This shows that we are on track because we don’t want to lag behind as far as learning languages is concerned.
We are sure that other Tanzanian embassies can take a leaf from the Embassy of France to promote Kiswahili in the countries they are serving. In this way, we will eventually put Kiswahili on the world map for it is accompanied by many opportunities for individual citizens and as a country in general.