Young generations on the African continent have been urged to learn the Kiswahili language. Leaders on the continent say Kiswahili has been cherished as a liberating language. It is spoken by at least 200 million people worldwide.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared the 7th of July as World Kiswahili Language Day.
Several African countries use Kiswahili and it has also been adopted as an official working language by the African Union, Pan African Parliament and SADC.
This makes Swahili the first African language to be feted by the United Nations. Earlier this year, the African Union added it as one of its official working languages and just last week, Uganda adopted Kiswahili as an official language.
In Kenya, celebrations were held in various towns and cities to mark World Swahili Language day beginning with a procession in the capital Nairobi, which culminated in cultural activities at the National Museums of Kenya.
So why a special day to recognise Swahili? It is among the ten most widely spoken languages in the world according to UNESCO.
Swahili speakers spread over more than 14 countries: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Comoros, Oman and Yemen.
Two years ago the Southern African region adopted a resolution to have the language taught in schools.
Swahili has grown from borrowing words from other languages, as it is a mix of Bantu languages and Arabic.
Historia kidogo ya lugha ya Kiswahili. #SABCNews pic.twitter.com/bOni6WRNzy
— Sarah Kimani (@sarahkimani) July 7, 2022
July 7 marks World Kiswahili Language Day: Munene Nyaga