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Kiswahili language now at the top level

Kiswahili language now at the top level

ACCORDING to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Kiswahili is one of the most widely used languages of the African family and the most widely spoken in sub-Saharan Africa.

It is among the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world, with more than 200 million speakers. The language is one of the lingua franca in many countries within East, Central and Southern Africa as well as in the Middle East. It is also taught across major universities and colleges globally. 

As the lingua franca in the African Great Lakes region, as well as in East and Southern Africa, and the most widely spoken language with more than 200 million people within and outside the continent, it has become the tenth most used language globally.

The government continues with the efforts of promoting Kiswahili language in production activities, whereby the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, during the tabling of the 41.48 tri/- national budget estimates for 2022/23 in the National Assembly, recommended that all job interviews be conducted in Kiswahili.

Dr Nchemba recommended that all conference halls and government offices be equipped with foreign language translation devices and interpreters to honour the national language.

He said civil servants; including extension officers who serve ordinary Tanzanians are not should not be interviewed in English language.

Academicians commend the government recommendation on the use of Kiswahili during interviews for the benefit of the country.

 

The University of Dar es Salaam’s Institute of Kiswahili Studies Director, Professor Aldin Mutembei, says the purpose of conducting interviews is to test the skills of the interviewees and not knowledge of a particular language.

 

Prof Mutembei adds that it is high time that job seekers are allowed to express themselves in their widely spoken language so that they become confident in presenting their skills and knowledge during interviews.

He further says that the ability of a candidate to deliver cannot be tested in communication, thus the use of Kiswahili will not affect their ability to deliver in jobs.

National Kiswahili Council (BAKITA) Acting Executive Secretary, Ms Consolata Mushi calls upon the authorities, especially government institutions, to ensure that they implement the directives and circulars, stressing the importance of monitoring the implementation of the directives.

The government has also prepared a new 10-year strategy (2022-2032) to make the Kiswahili language a product to sell in Kiswahili-speaking countries, as well as in international organisations and forums.

 

Tanzania's national language has created big demand in different countries that have shown interest to learn it, while some regional and international organisations have adopted it as part of their communication tools.

 

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports, Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa revealed this when he tabled the ministry’s 2022/23 budget estimates of 35.4bn/-before the National Assembly in Dodoma.

 

According to Minister Mchengerwa, the ministry through BAKITA has completed preparation of 2022-2023 national strategy for commercialising the language.

 

Mr Mchengerwa brags that Kiswahili has continued to be accepted for use nationally, regionally and internationally. In the 2021/22 financial year, the efforts to spread Kiswahili paid off as the language was crowned as a working language for the African Union (AU).

Kiswahili was endorsed as AU working language during the Heads of State and governments’ conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February this year. It was after a speech by Vice-President, Dr Philip Mpango during the conference over importance of the language when used in the AU.

After the regional body endorsed Kiswahili as its working language, in just a short period of time at least 65 Tanzanians have already been registered to get temporary and permanent jobs at the AU and its commissions.

Some key documents of the AU, including protocols, will be translated into Kiswahili, thus offering more employment to Tanzanian experts. Already, some Tanzanian Kiswahili experts serve as translators in some meetings of the AU and its commissions

Kiswahili is the official language of the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).

 

The government has put concerted efforts in promoting the Swahili language as an official language of the country, the second language in rural areas, and the first language for the majority of the current generation, the primary school language and the language of Parliament

 UNESCO has recognized Kiswahili language and is celebrated on the seventh of July every year and this year, Kiswahili celebrations will be marked in various countries.

 

This first celebration of the World Kiswahili language day is held under the theme ‘Kiswahili for Peace and Prosperity’. The mission of the annual celebration is to promote the use of Kiswahili language as a beacon for unity, peace, and enhanced multiculturalism. 

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Author: SOPHIA KUMKANA

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