Learn Swahili

Why Swahili language?

Kwa nini lugha ya Kiswhili?


Learning the swahili language is a cultural exchange through songs and stories. Christian missionaries, business people, and visitors learn swahili as a second language for communication. It is a gentle blending of tradition and innovation that weave together in the story of the people. It is a revival of the past, a celebration of the present and a vision of the future. It is a sharing of words and a creation of a sense of belonging.

Sauti Njiwa Radio Ministry is promoting the learning of Swahili Culture. Contact us to learn more. Who speaks Swahili? People from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi, Zaire, Central Africa, Comoro Island, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, and Ethiopia all share this common tongue.

Swahili Language History

For hundreds of years, Swahili has remained as the language for the people of the East African coast. Long-time interactions with other people bordering the Indian Ocean spread the Swahili language to distant places such as on the islands of Comoro and Madagascar and even far beyond to South Africa, the "Zulu". Oman and United Arab Emirates. Trade and migration from the Swahili coast during the nineteenth-century helped spread the language to the interior, particularly Tanzania. It also reached Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Central African Rebublic, and Mozambique. Christian missionaries learned Swahili as the language of communication to spread the Gospel in Eastern Africa. So, the missionaries also helped to spread the language. As a matter of fact the first Swahili-English dictionary was prepared by a missionary.

During the colonial time, Swahili was used for communication with the local inhabitants. Hence the colonial administrators pioneered the effort of standardizing the Swahili language. Zanzibar was the epicenter of culture and commerce, therefore colonial administrators selected the dialect of the Zanzibar (Unguja) town as the standard Swahili. The Unguja dialect (Kiunguja) was then used for all formal communication such as in schools, in mass media (newspapers and radio), in books and other publications. Now Swahili is spoken in many countries of Eastern Africa. For Tanzania, deliberate efforts were made by the independent nation to promote the language (thanks to the efforts of the former head of state, Julius K. Nyerere). Tanzania's special relations with countries of southern Africa was the chief reason behind the spread of Swahili to Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, and other neighbouring countries to the south. Swahili is the national as well as the official language in Tanzania - almost all Tanzanians speak Swahili proficiently and are unified by it. In Kenya and Uganda, it is the national language, but official correspondence is still conducted in English...

In terms of a common language for use, Swahili is the most widely spoken language of eastern Africa and many world institutions have responded to its diaspora. It is one of the languages that features in some world radio stations such as, the BBC, Radio Cairo (Egypt), the Voice of America (U.S.A.), Deutsche Welle Radio (Germany), Radio Moscow International (Russia), Radio Japan International, Radio China International, Radio Sudan, Radio South Africa, and Sauti Njiwa Radio in USA. Kiswahili is also beings used elsewhere in songs, theatres, movies and television programs throughout the world. Swahili language is not only promoted forin its use perse,but deliberate efforts are being made throughout the world to include it in education curriculum for higher institutions of learning. Swahili is now taught in many parts of the world as a foreign language.

Swahili Language Links

Kiswahili (Swahili) Dictionary / On-line Translator