Gaborone – The SADC region is moving closer to delivering on a resolution to practically introduce Kiswahili as an official language.
Botswana recently announced Kiswahili would be part of the schools curricula, as did South Africa, while Namibia is moving in the same direction.
At a memorial service for Tanzania’s late President Dr John Pombe Magufuli in late March, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said his country would teach Kiswahili in schools.
“President Magufuli was a great teacher, almost like President Julius Mwalimu Nyerere. Even to us in Botswana. He expected us to speak Swahili. Because of reasons advanced earlier by my senior brother, President (Cyril) Ramaphosa (of South Africa), we too have introduced Swahili in our curricula.”
President Ramaphosa had earlier said Dr Mangufuli was a champion of African culture, especially when it came to the recognition of Swahili as a great language.
“Swahili has been introduced in South African schools as an honour to the late President John Magufuli who insisted on its use,” President Ramaphosa said.
In Namibia, Kiswahili will be the first African language from outside that country to be taught in schools.
In 2019, the Southern Africa Development Community adopted Kiswahili as its fourth official language along with English, Portuguese and French. The decision was reached at an Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Tanzania.
Dr Magufuli delivered his Summit address at that meeting in Kiswahili, and he used his address to appeal for the fast-tracked adoption of the language as an official medium of communication for the bloc as a means of paying homage to Julius Nyerere’s contributions to African liberation.
Kiswahili is already an official language in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, and also of the African Union.