Making Kiswahili the official lingua franca of Africa is no longer debatable as countries on the continent are embracing the language in their communities.
With its origin in East Africa, Kiswahili has for long been centred around Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya since colonial times. However, other countries in the East African Community comprising of Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and lately Uganda have adopted Swahili as a language.
A day after the world celebrated the first ever Kiswahili Day, Africa has been encouraged to use Swahili language as a unifying tool.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader Julius Malema believes that Kiswahili has the potential to revolutionise Africa if it is introduced and adapted into the curriculum of all non-speaking Kiswahili States across the continent.
The South Africa’s opposition leader says Swahili is the most practical language because it has spread all over other countries.
“Swahili is the most practical language not because it is one of the big languages but because it is already being spoken in different countries. You might say Zulu is big but it is only spoken in South Africa but once you go with a language that is already in different countries then you are not going to start from zero,” said Malema in an interview with Standard Digital.
“So we have made a call for Swahili to be taught in schools and once we start teaching Swahili in South African schools we will be able to call all of the African content to teach the language.”
Malema says Africa’s unity will be robust if the continent drops colonial languages for Swahili.
“Once we have a common language that we can use to communicate amongst ourselves and not use the colonial language the unity of Africa is going to be easy. Now we are divided between the francophone and the anglophone colonial languages,” he said.
“Let’s push this language and make sure that we have got some starting point and the most practical thing to do now is to say let’s teach Swahili and encourage other countries to start teaching Swahili.”
Malema’s call comes two days after the Ugandan government approved the adoption of Swahili as an official language, making it compulsory in schools.
Uganda has been using English as the only official language since its independence in 1962. It is predicted that Swahili is on the verge of swallowing other colonial languages in Africa as time goes by.