WEKESA: Let’s promote Kiswahili as the language of African diplomacy


By BOB WEKESA
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A seemingly innocuous development, yet one loaded with diplomatic potential for Africa happened last week — the announcement that Kiswahili will be taught in primary schools in South Africa.

It is probably one of the most important developments in the trajectory of the language since it joined English, Portuguese, French and Arabic as the official language of the African Union in 2004.

Interestingly, the adoption of the predominantly Bantu language at the AU was in part thanks to former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano’s surprise delivery of a farewell speech as AU chairman in Swahili in 2004.

Indeed, the announcement by South African basic education minister Angie Motshekga, quickly garnered vibrant discussion on social media platforms in South Africa,…

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