The East African Legislative Assembly has approved plans to make Kiswahili its second official language.
Previously, English was the language of choice which was not practical for countries such as Burundi that relies heavily on French.
Member states that could be said to have Kiswahili deeply entrenched and widely used in everyday lives are Tanzania and Kenya. In other countries, it is only used sparingly by some communities.
Kiswahili has been an official language of the East African Community (EAC) but hardly used in official communication. Is it time it began making inroads in the community,
Beginning this academic year, Kiswahili will be one of the examinable subjects in school, but how prepared are the schools? Do we have enough teachers like our brothers and sisters in the east?
Before the First World War, Rwanda, together with Tanzania and Burundi were part of German East Africa. The Language of communication was Kiswahili and its vestiges are still present in certain communities with large Muslim presence.
So can “pure” Swahili be revived to do away with the corrupted version spoken here as well as eastern DRC and Burundi?
In a region that has hundreds of languages, having Kiswahili as the common denominator would enhance unity in diversity, as is the case in Tanzania today.
So, authorities should put more effort to make sure the language takes root as it is the key that opens the door to east African integration.