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Participants at the regional consultative meeting on Kiswahili as a working language of AU and language of wider communication in Africa held in Kigali, Rwanda

Africa now has more vehicles to transport its development as this is one of the services of languages of wider communication.

But to achieve this, these vehicles have to be loaded with what to transport and this is where African languages come in.  African languages are not just tools of communication but languages of development.  Through them we get goods unique to Africa, and these are what the languages of wider communication can transport and sell across Africa and the world.

A language of wider communication being defined as a medium of communication across language or cultural barriers needs to be loaded with right and relevant packages if it is to effect development.


According to history, the language originated as a result of interactions between Arab traders and Bantu ethnical groups (Encyclopedia Britannica)  According to this publication, Swahili is characteristically Bantu in its grammar and it has a large vocabulary of word roots traceable to Bantu languages .

This gives the language an edge over other languages used as languages of wider communication in Africa, for the Bantu speakers.

However many countries in Africa do not recognize it as their national language and is categorized as a foreign language like English French or Portuguese. This so because no ethnic tribe in those countries can claim it as its mother tongue (Viera Pawlikova- Vilhanova, 1996)

While this gives an advantage to Kiswahili as language with capability of uniting Africa without ethnic biases, it lives the unanswered question of what about our languages? Where does this leave national languages? This is a question expected to be answered by these countries’ language policies but many of these countries, lack language policies and those  which have them, they are silent as far as national languages are concerned.


  Whereas Kiswahili may have the capability of uniting Africa, its capability to drive Africa’s development without the support of African languages is still questionable.

Kiswahili having partially originated from African languages which passed on many of their vocabulary to the language, does not mean that it can substitute African languages. This is so because these languages which are not only a tool of communication but also a storage/ library of indigenous knowledge, culture and environment knowledge did not pass these on to the Swahili language. 

The gravity of loss or lack of provision for Africa’s indigenous knowledge can best bye explained by  Chika Ezeanya Esiobu (2019) who says that the development of indigenous knowledge is a byproduct of efforts to master the environment and has been a matter of survival to communities”

Indigenous knowledge has been further defined as Culturally informed understanding inculcated into individuals from birth onwards, structuring how they interface with their environments. It is also informed continually by outside intelligence. (Sillitoe 2002, 9)

Greiner (1998, 1) defines indigenous knowledge as unique, traditional, local knowledge existing within and developed around specific conditions of women and men indigenous to a particular geographic area and goes on to observe   that development  efforts that ignore local technologies, local systems of knowledge and local environment usually fail to achieve desired objectives.

Kiggundu (2007, 42) defines it as local knowledge that exists as a result of interactions with the environment by members of a community within a geographical area and state that it covers all fields of human endeavor including, but not limited to, agriculture, environment, pharmacology, health, trade and economics and political systems and  Oguamanam (2006, 14-16) adds that  indigenous knowledge is based on a long periods of close interactions with the natural environment and phenomena”.

 So when this knowledge built of centuries in response to the environment around us is dismissed, ignored and dropped, it leaves Africa baseless and with no foundation on which to build its development. This is the missing link to Africa’s development which must be addressed as we widen the number of vehicles (languages of wider communication) to transport Africa’s development.

Africa needs to incorporate its indigenous knowledge in its development because it is this indigenous knowledge that gives it an edge, a competitive advantage and something unique to put on the global development table. It is this indigenous knowledge that can build foundation for sustainable development.

But there is no proof that all this knowledge and African culture was passed on to Kiswahili as it incorporated  vocabulary  from African languages. African languages are Africa’s languages for sustainable development because they store Africa’s indigenous knowledge and culture, a foundation  needed for Africa to build sustainable development.  Postponing  their development is postponing Africa’s development.

So whereas Kiswahili as a language of wider communication is a welcome development in Africa, Africa needs more than ever before to put its strength in developing and promoting African languages as languages of development which store indigenous knowledge , a product of the environment and base on it to drive development  which then will be propelled to a wider market by Kiswahili, the language of wider communication.

AU should note that by postponing development  promotion and usage of African languages. in development,  is postponement of Africa’s development.

For as Chika says, Africa needs to use its indigenous knowledge and culture as basis for  sustainable development and Batibo crowns it all when he notes that the fast-developing countries of Asia, such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand base their development strategies on their indigenous languages as this is the only way  to  involve  the  whole  population  in  the  development  effort  and  to  meaningfully  bring  technological  advancement  within  the  country’s  cultural  framework ((Batibo, 2005 )

This can best be achieved if we go back to the store where these are kept (African languages) study them, sieve out knowledge, apply technology  to it and use it to come up with products to be promoted across Africa and the world over, using Kiswahili and other languages of wider communication For Kiswahili to vehicle Africa’s development, African languages must feed it with indigenous knowledge propelled  products.

Kiswahili and African Languages in Development

Diagram showing relationship between African languages and Kiswahili that needs to happen   to propel Africa to development

Another issue to note is that Language learning in Africa has always been correlated with jobs. Even today people study new languages like Mandarin because of their job prospects For Kiswahili to stand chance of propelling Africa’s development job creation is vital and indigenous knowledge, culture and environment knowledge will be necessary to create a different form of employment opportunities for Africa.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals require participation for all and that nobody is left behind.  Okolocha and Yuka  (2011:8)  argue   that all the world’s developed countries have developed on the

basis of their  national languages, as they have adapted and integrated technology within  their  cultural and social values, thus reaching all the people in their countries.  This needs to happen in Africa if the continent is to develop and postponement of development of African languages is tantamount to postponing Africa’s development.




To ensure that Kiswahili goes beyond communication and become a propeller of development the following actions should be taken:


African Union

-          Urge and support all member states to have proper language policies with clear development roles for their national languages.

-          Come up with a clear  development plan for Indigenous knowledge and African languages in the continent’s development plan

-          Work out Kiswahili’s development and promotion side by side with promotion and development of African languages



-          Ensure communication  transfer of culture and indigenous knowledge from African languages to Kiswahili and other languages of wider communication through research, translation and interpretation

-          Fast track development usage and promotion of African languages by supporting  and facilitating  Language Commissions in cultural and indigenous knowledge research and  translation from mother tongue into Kiswahili and other languages of wider communication.

-          Ensure cordial and mutual working relations between Kiswahili and African language Commissions

-          Have  budget allocations for Language Commissions’  research

-          Support multilingual publication publishing especially where those which incorporate an African language and Kiswahili

-          Sponsored media promotions targeting African languages, culture and Kiswahili.

-          Come up with a multilingual translation bureau end media to ensure dissemination of key AU development messages to the grassroots.



-          Fast track formulation of scientific vocabulary and concepts in African languages and research in culture and indigenous knowledge by incorporating relevant professionals into the Commissions

-          Encourage authors of multilingual publications especially those including Kiswahili and other AU official languages





Kiswahili as a language of wider communication of the AU is a positive step in the right direction of African unity but to achieve Africa’s development through participation for all, leaving nobody behind, then  African languages as storage of African culture and indigenous knowledge , still hold the mantle and their development should be fast tracked side by side with that of Kiswahili if the continent is to achieve sustainable  development founded  and based on Africa’s indigenous knowledge.









Chika Ezeanya- Esiobu (2019): Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Africa


 John Kiggundu: (2007) Intellectual property law and the protection of indigenous knowledge.


Chidi Oguamanam  (2006) International law and indigenous knowledge; intellectual property, plant biodiversity, and traditional medicine. University of Toronto Press, Toronto


Herman M.  Batibo (2005): Language Decline and death in Africa

Causes, Consequences and Challenges


Paul Sillitoe (2002): Indigenous Knowledge in Development




Frida Erastus Kanana  2013) : Examining African Languages as Tools for  National Development: The Case of Kiswahili


Louise Greiner (1998) : Working with Indigenous Knowledge: A Guide for Researchers. International Development Research Center, Ottawa

Viera Pawlikova – Vilhanova (1996)  : Swahili And The Dilemma Of Ugandan Language Policy

Gwe zisanga azigumira, ekikere kisula kitudde

Gwe zisanga azigumira, ekikere kisula kitudde

UNESCO ne ACALAN bakubirizza abantu okujjumbira ennimi zaabwe enzaaliranwa

 EKITONGOLE ky’Amawanga Amagatte ekikola ku byenjigiriza, amagezi ag’ekikugu n’ebyobuwangwa, UNESCO, wamu n’ekya Afirika ekivunaanyizibwa ku nnimi, ACALAN, bakubirizza abantu okujjumbira okukuuma ennimi zaabwe n’okuzeeyambisa mu bulamu obwa bulijjo okwekulaakulanya. 

Bino byabadde mu lukiiko wakati w’ebitongole bino n’ebitongole ebitali bimu mu Afirika olw'ennaku ebbiri (Muzigo (ogwokutaano) 25-26) mu kaweefube w’okukola entegeka y’ebinaagobererwa mu kukuza ekyasa ky’ennimi enzaaliranwa naddala ezo ezitafiibwako era ezoolekedde okusaanawo, ekitandika mu mwaka 2022 okutuuka mu mwaka 2032. 

UNESCO mu lukiiko luno yabadde yeebuuza ku Afirika ku bisaana okugobererwa mu kukuza ekyasa kino era mu kwogera kwe, Ssaabawandiisi w’ekibiina kya African Union ekivunaanyizibwa ku kukuza n’okutumbula ennimi mu Afirika- ACALAN, Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha yagambye nti African Union ekitwala nti ennimi za Afirika zonna nzaaliranwa mu Afirika nga zikozesebwa Abafirika bangi mu bulamu bwabwe obwa bulijjo noolwekyo zonna zeetaaga okutumbulwa zisobole okukozesebwa mu byenkulaakulana. 

Yalaze abateesa entegeka za ACALAN ez’emyaka 10 ezituukira obulungi ku bigendererwa by’ekyasa ky’ennimi enzaaliranwa omuli;

(i) Okusaba buli ggwanga lya Afirika okuba n’entegeka ennambulukufu ku byennimi eraga ekifo n’emirimu gy’ennimi enzaaliranwa mu ggwanga eryo;

(ii) Okulaba ng’ennimi zonna mu mawanga ga Afirika zikkirizibwa nga ensulo y’okwekulaakulanya;

(iii) Okuggya Abafirika mu buddu bw’okwesigama ekisusse ku nnimi engwira

(iv) Okulaba ng’ennimi za Afirika zisembera ku mwanjo mu byempuliziganya ebitongole eri abantu mu mawanga gano nga bayita mu kussaawo amateeka agazisobozesa era n’okuzitumbula;

(v) Okwongera amaanyi mu kutumbula enkozesa y’ennimi zaffe ku mitendera gyonna egy’ebyenjigiriza;

(vi) Okutumbula obumu mu Afirika ku mitendera gyonna okuyita mu nnimi zaffe ez’enjawulo eziri mu Afirika.

Yayanjulidde n’abateesa pulojekiti ez’enjawulo ACALAN z’ekolako omuli:

(1)    Okunoonyereza ku nnimi zonna ezisangibwa mu Afirika ne gye zisangibwa

(2)    Okussaawo ebyensoma ebya waggulu (Masters ne PHD) mu nnimi za Afirika n’enkozesa yaazo okusobola okufuna abamanyi mu nnimi zino;

(3)    Okussaawo ettendekero ly’abataputa n’abakyusa mu nnimi Enfirika, okuva mu olumu okuzza mu lulala kisobozese ennimi zino okukozesebwa;

(4)    Okuzimba ebigambo eby’amagezi ag’ekikugu nga bayita mu kutendeka abasobola okugunja ebigambo bino. ACALAN yamala dda okussaawo omubumbirano okuzimbirwa ebigambo by’ekikugu mu nnimi za Afirika;

(5)    Okukung'aanya Engero n’emboozi ennyuvu okuva wonna mu Afirika ezigendereddwa mu kutumbula okusoma mu baana n’okubassaamu empis y’okusoma mu nnimi zaabwe;

(6)    Okussa ennimi za Afirika ku mutimbagano n’okuzissaamu tekinologiya ow’ekikugu era wano ACALAN ebakanye n’okussaawo omutimbagano gw’ennimi mu Afirika ogujja okukozesebwa okulaga byonna ebikwata ku nnimi zino

Omukungu wa UNESCO akola ku byamawulire n’empuliziganya mu buvanjuba bwa Afirika, Mw. Jaco du Toit bwe yabadde aggalawo olukiiko luno, yakubirizza abantu okujjumbira okukozesa ennimi zaabwe enzaaliranwa n’okuzikuuma n’alaga obukulu bw’okukola entegeka nnamutaayiika ey’ensi yonna eneegobererwa okukuza ekyasa ky’ennimi enzaaliranwa ekitandika omwaka ogujja, 2022.

Omukululo bajjajjaffe gwe baaleka ogw'amagezi amazaaliranwabaagutereka mu nnimi

Omukululo bajjajjaffe gwe baaleka ogw'amagezi amazaaliranwabaagutereka mu nnimi


Ku Mmande (Bbalaza) nga 24 omwezi gwa Gatonnya (Janwali)  okutuusa nga 30 ye wiiki eyaweebwayo okujaguza n'okwekebejja obukulu bw'ennimi za Afirika enzaaliranwa mu kuzimba amawanga gaffe ne Afirika etweyagaza okutwalira awamu.

Wiiki y’ennimi  ennansi  yatongozebwa mu  Ssebaaseka (Julaayi)  wa 2021  mu Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso, ng’ebeerawo okuva 24-30  mu mwezi gwa Gatonnya (Janwali) era yaakujagulizibwanga amawanga gonna agali mu mukago gwa African Union oluvannyuma lw'okukakasibwa baminisita abavunaanyizibwa ku byennimi n'ebyobuwangwa ab'amawanga agali mu mukago guno. Omwaka guno omulamwa guli  "African Languages: Levers for the Africa we want" ekiyinza okuvvuunulwa nti Ennimi za Afirika : omusingi kwe tusinziira okuzimba Afirika gye twagala.

Bwe yabadde ayogera ku bikujjuko by'omwaka guno, akulembera akakiiko ka African Union akavunaanyizibwa ku byennimi aka African Academy Of Languages (ACALAN), Dr. Dampha Fafa Lang, yakubirizza abantu ssekinnomu, ebitongole n'amawanga okutegeka ebikujjuko eyo gye bali, nga bwe balabye nga boolesa obukulu bw'ennimi zaffe Enfirika mu byobulamu, ebyenkulaakulana, obutebenkevu n'okuzimba Afirika etweyagaza.


Abamu ku beetabye mu okukuza olunaku lw'ennimi ennansi
Abamu ku beetabye mu okukuza olunaku lw'ennimi ennansi
Minisita Peace Regis Mutuuzo (wakati ku batudde) Muky. Juliana Naumo okuva mu Minisitule y'Ekikula ky'Abantu. ne Dr.Carol Asimwe (ku kkono owa yunivasite e Makerere.
Dr. Ronald Miria Acaatre ng'awayaamu ne Minisita n'abalala.
Minisita Peace Mutuuzo ng'ayogera
Minisita Peace Mutuuzo ng'ayogera


Diagram showing relationship between African languages and Kiswahili that needs to happen   to propel Africa to development

Diagram showing relationship between African languages and Kiswahili that needs to happen to propel Africa to development


 By Margaret Nankinga

Coordinator, Luganda/Lusoga/ Lugwere Vehicular Cross-border Language Commission

 THE African Union adapting Kiswahili as a language of wider communication is a great achievement, as Kiswahili joins other foreign languages; English Portuguese and French, used as languages of wider communication and official languages in Africa.

Latest comments

29.11 | 05:08

Nzjaako akatinko in English

30.10 | 17:22

Thanks for the updates.

19.10 | 20:16

Bamuyita batya

19.10 | 20:14

Kyayi mu luganda

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 EGGWANGA eryagala okukula n’okuvumbula ebipya lirina kwesigama ku nnimi zaalyo enzaaliranwa.  Mu nnimi muno mwe lisobola okuggya amagezi amapya agalisobozesa okuvumbula ebipya omuli n’eddagala eppya erisobola okuvumula endwadde ezikyalemye.

Minisita omubeezi ow’Ekikula ky’Abantu akola ku byobuwangwa n’ennono, Muky.  Peace Regis Mutuuzo, bwe yabadde ayogera ku mukolo gw’okukuza olunaku lw’ennimi ennansi nga 2 omwezi gwa Mugulansigo (Maaci) 2021, kwe yabadde omugenyi omukulu, yagambye nti  ennimi ennansi  gwe musingi gw’okukuza  eggwanga era nga liyita mu zo, lwe lisobola okuvumbula ebipya omuli n’okuvumbula eddagala okuliggya mu bimera.

Obukulu bw’ennimi ennansi bweyolese bulungi mu kulwanyisa ssennyiga omukambwe kubanga ebikwata ku bulwadde buno byabadde birina okuzzibwa mu nnimi ennansi abantu ne babitegeera bulungi era mu bwangu ne basobola okwenyigira mu lutalo lw’okwerwanako okuziyiza okukwatibwa obulwadde buno.

Emikolo gy’olunaku luno gyabadde ku wooteeri ya Fairway mu Kampala era wadde ensi yonna yalukuzizza nga February 21 naye mu Uganda emikolo emikulu gyabaddewo nga Mugulansigo 2, 2021.

Omulamwa  olunaku kwe lwakuziddwa gwabadde ku bukulu bw’ennimi ennansi mu kuziyiza n’okulwanyisa ssennyiga omukambwe – Covid-19.

Minisita, Muky. Mutuuzo yagambye nti ssennyiga omukambwe olwabalukawo,  Uganda  yakozesa ennimi zaayo okutegeeza abantu era olulimi kibadde kikulu nnyo mu kubulwanyisa kuba lwayamba abantu okutegeera n’okumanya ebyo ebitaasa obulamu bwabwe.

Yagambye nti Uganda erina ennimi ezisoba mu 44 nga zino zeetaaga okukuza okuzisobozesa okukola eby’amaanyi n’abalambuzi abajja mu ggwanga lino batandike okuzoogera. Yagasseeko nti twetaaga n’okuyiga ennimi endala kituyambe obutafuna buzibu kuwulizaganya n’abantu abalala.

 Omukolo gwetabiddwaako abantu abaagubaddeko obutereevu ate n’abo abaayise ku mukutu mugattabantu.

Omukolo gwetabiddwaako abakungu okuva mu bitongole eby’enjawulo okwabadde aba minisitule y’ebyobulamu, minisitule y’ebyenjigiriza minisitule y’Ekikula ky’abantu, ab’ekibiina kya Luganda, Lusoga, Lugwere  Commision , abeekibiina ky’Olulimi Oluganda n’abalala.

Dr. Ronald Miria Acaatre okuva mu minisitule y’ebyobulamu yategeezezza nga bwe baakyusizza obubaka bwa ssennyiga omukambwe mu nnimi ezisoba mu munaana ekyayambye okumanyisa Bannayuganda ebikwata ku bulwadde buno.

Yalaze ennyiike ku ngeri ennimi enzaaliranwa gye zikozesebwa ennaku zino mu bukyamu, n’ategeeza nti ez’edda zaawukanira ddala n’eza leero, lwa bantu kukozesa bubi bigambo,  n’asaba abazadde okuyigiriza abaana enkozesa y’ennimi zaabwe entuufu.

Dr. Carol Asiimwe, okuva mu kitongole ky’ennimi Enfirika ku yunivasite e Makerere  yasabye gavumenti esseewo  ekitongole ekivunaanyizibwa ku kukyusa ebiwandiiko okubizza mu nnimi enzaaliranwa.

Minisita Mutuuzo yategeezezza nti waakusaba Pulezidenti akkirize abakulembeze b’ebitundu aba gavumenti eya wakati okulayira mu nnimi zaabwe ze bategeera obulungi kibanguyize n’okutegeera amakulu agali mu bye balayira.

Okukuza olunaku luno gwe gumu ku mikolo egiteekateeka eggwanga olw’ekyasa ky’ennimi ennansi ekyalangirirwa UNESCO ekitandika mu mwaka gwa 2022 kiggweeko mu 2032.


Oluganda lulimi lugagga lwa bigambo kyokka waliwo ebimu ebigenda bikendeera mu nkozesa nga tebikyatera kuwulirwa.

SIL ng'eyolesa ku bijaguzo bya 2017
SIL ng'eyolesa ku bijaguzo bya 2017
Bwe baali ku bijaguzo eby'omwaka 2017
Bwe baali ku bijaguzo eby'omwaka 2017
Nga basanyusa abagenyi ku bijaguzo bya 2016
Nga basanyusa abagenyi ku bijaguzo bya 2016
Bwe baali ku bijaguzo bya 2018
Bwe baali ku bijaguzo bya 2018
Bwe baali ku mikolo gy'olunaku luno egya 2016
Bwe baali ku mikolo gy'olunaku luno egya 2016


Omulamwa gw’omwaka guno gukubiriza abakulembeze, abasomesa n’abazadde okwongera amaanyi mu kuyigiriza abaana ennimi ez’enjawulo n’okulaba nga teri mwana alekebwa mabega .

Amannya ga langi ez'enjawulo mu Luganda

Langi ez'enjawulo ziweebwa amannya ag'enjawulo. Oluganda lulina n'ebigambo ebinnyonnyola obukwafu oba obutangaavu bwa langi eyo gy'oba oyogerako


Margaret Nankinga

16.03.2022 08:48

Osobola okumpandiikira ku mnankinga@hotmail.com

Margaret Nankinga

22.04.2021 11:39

Thanks Ivan for your interest in learning Luganda. On this site we have two pages teaching Luganda; Learn Luganda and Luganda lessons. Feel free to start here. We are ready to help .