Beijing, 9 July 2022 (TDI): The World Kiswahili Language Day is annually celebrated on July 7. Wu Peng, the Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a congratulatory tweet to the Kiswahili language speakers on Thursday. 

According to Wu, many universities in China have introduced Kiswahili degree programs in past decades. Through such a program, more and more young people will be able to learn the Kiswahili language at home.

Moreover, with the knowledge of Kiswahili, Chinese students will also enjoy more channels to know and love the unique culture of Africa.

The World Kiswahili Language Day received its name from the United Nations on 23rd November 2021. Moreover, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was the one who made the announcement.

As a part of the implementation of Resolution 71/328, UNESCO decided during the 41st Member States’ session in Paris. 

Kiswahili and Its Development in China

According to UNESCO, Kiswahili is among the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world. At the same time, there are more than 200 million speakers of the Kiswahili language. Also, Kiswahili speakers spread over more than 14 countries with their origin in East Africa. 

Those 14 countries include Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Comoros, and as far as Oman and Yemen in the Middle East.

Furthermore, Southern African countries such as South Africa and Botswana have introduced Kiswahili in schools. Additionally, Namibia and others are considering promoting the education of Kiswahili as well.

As Wu Peng stated, Kiswahili degree programs are becoming more popular than before among Chinese students.

Historically speaking, the Communication University of China is the first university that established a Kiswahili major in the year 1960. Afterward, Beijing Foreign Studies University began to offer the Kiswahili major in 1961.