On November 23, 2021, the United Nations designated July 7 as the World Kiswahili Language Day-the official day to celebrate the Swahili language.
The announcement was made by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) during its 41st Member States’ session held in Paris, France.
This made Swahili the first African language to be feted by the UN. It is one of the official languages of the African Union.
Swahili is “among the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world, with more than 200 million speakers,” Unesco stated in its proposal to member states to proclaim World Kiswahili Language Day with great joy. We consider this as Tanzania’s gift to the world.” Said Professor Kennedy Gastorn, Tanzania’s Permanent Representative to the UN headquarters in New York, in an interview with UN News-Kiswahili.
Why July 07?
Professor Gastorn says Tanzania requested this specific day because on 07 July 1954, the Tanganyika African National Union-the ruling party of then Tanganyika-led by Julius Nyerere, declared Swahili as an important tool in the fight for independence.
“Although Tanzania has over 120 languages, they chose Swahili to unify them,” says Dr. Leonard Muaka, a professor of Swahili and Linguistics at Howard University.
Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners Zanzibar is the institute that teaches Kiswahili in order to promote International. The activities of the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners were initially embedded in the former Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Languages, better known as TAKILUKI which was established in 1979. Following the University restricting process; the new Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners has been established to teach Kiswahili programs to foreigners. The Department is located in the heart of the Stone Town of Zanzibar.
The Department has been rapidly growing in terms of the programs, teaching methods, materials, and qualified academic staff. The State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) aims at making the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners the preferred centre for learning Kiswahili worldwide.
The department has the following objectives:
- To teach, promote and spread Kiswahili within and outside the country.
- To teach Kiswahili to foreigners.
- To co-operate with other institutes sharing similar objectives and functions from within and outside the country.
The Department offers the following courses for the foreigners wishing to learn Kiswahili:
- Kiswahili for Beginners
- Intermediate Kiswahili Course
- Advanced Kiswahili Course
- Kiswahili Literature
- Tailor made course
- Kiswahili for Tourists.
Kiswahili Course for Beginners
Course Code: KBL-11
At this level the Department provides basic instruction on how to greet people at different times and at different levels of social status, preparing students for simple conversations in an authentic manner. In addition to that, it offers other basic language skills such as speaking, writing, listening, and reading; within those areas, grammar is introduced throughout.
The Department also integrates the student with Swahili culture and values. It directs the students to use the language in real situations so that the students build self-confidence in using the language in a variety of different contexts.
Finally. the Department develops the student’s communicative writing skills. It encourages the students to be independent by participating in conversations with a variety of Swahili speakers and interacting with people in different contexts.
The students are supplied with a textbook-ZUNGUMZA KISWAHILI Hatua ya Kwanza.
Kiswahili for Intermediate Learners’ Course
Course Code: KIL-20
At the intermediate level, the course is designed for the students to learn language through the environment, and learn grammar through context. Also, content is integrated with the language. This level provides various reading, listening, and writing skills to those who have a fair amount of knowledge of the language. This will help the students to immerse the Swahili language community.
The Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners designs the course to engage the student in functional usage of the language for a meaningful purpose, developing appropriate strategies for initiating conversation, giving and receiving directions, asking and responding, reading passages and enabling him/her to give simple opinions.
The Department’s focus is to engage the student in full participation in academic, social and work contexts in Swahili. It is designed to enable the student to evaluate ideas and responses.
Duration: four weeks
Kiswahili for Advanced Learners’ Course
Course Code: KAL-30
At this level, the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners develops listening skills. through different books, this level is designed for the student to expand vocabulary and to evaluate and analyse the Swahili language in different situations and purposes.
It also directs the students to identify the main ideas, and discuss and present them in the Swahili language.
Duration: four weeks.
Kiswahili for Literature
Course Code: KLT-40
The course has a core syllabus and a variable component that takes into account the needs of the participants. The minimum time for the course is two weeks (40 hours). All the texts required may be purchased from the Department. The Department also has a well-stocked class library.
Kiswahili for Tourists
Course Code: KFT-11
This is only a one-week course that is provided for tourists who visit the Zanzibar islands just for a few days. It is intended to help them to communicate with local people. The Department provides the basic language needed for greetings, buying, and asking for directions.
Apart from the courses mentioned above, the department is flexible to offer special programmes according to the needs and interests of the learners.
Head of the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners Dr. Zainab Ali Iddi said the Department invites you to join a large number of foreign students for a course in both the Kiswahili language and the culture of Zanzibar and to enjoy the hospitality of the staff and people of Zanzibar.