World Kiswahili Day: Ministers vow to defend use of standard Kiswahili

Zanzibar ministers have called on the use of standard Kiswahili among young people, students, media and artists, so that it grows with respect and recognition as a strong language.

The Minister of Social Development, Elderly, Gender and Children, Ms Riziki Pembe Juma, explained this while opening the World Kiswahili Day conference held at the Tourism College of the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Maruhubi campus.

She said that SUZA was the centre for Kiswahili learning in East Africa and collaboration with other institutions to promote the standard language remains important for productivity not only in academic matters, but also in the promotion and development of Kiswahili for social, political, economic and cultural development.

“Apart from Tanzania, Kiswahili has been made a national language in many other countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and Kenya and one of the official languages in some activities of the East African Community (EAC) and the African Union (AU). It is good news that some African countries have decided to start teaching Kiswahili in their education systems,”Minister Riziki said.

On Monday, the Zanzibar Minister of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Ms Tabia Maulid Mwita also asked the people, mainly young people, to use standard Kiswahili in order to maintain and promote the language.

Speaking with journalists at her office, Migombani- Airport main road, she said the World Kiswahili Language Day commemoration was meant to promote use of standard Kiswahili.

“We should lead the way because Tanzania is a place of standard Kiswahili. Despite the admirable growth of the language, some people in the media and artists spoil the language.

We have to work as a team to ensure that Kiswahili is required and that the media has a great role to play in safeguarding standard use of Kiswahili,” she said.

Speaking about the government’s strategies to protect the Swahili Culture, Minister Tabia explained that they have been organising different programmes to ensure that when visitors come to Zanzibar, they use a friendly language so that the visitors can embrace the culture of Zanzibar without ruining tourism.

In addition, she said that today, a broad discussion, engaging various stakeholders will be held at the Sheikh Abdulwakil Hall, where the main topic will be ‘Kiswahili as a tool for economic liberation and development in Africa.’ Before a special walk today to celebrate Kiswahili and climax tomorrow at Police Hall, Ziwani, to be attended by Kiswahili stakeholders from Russia, Ghana, Germany, Comoros and Kenya.

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