Kiswahili Language Day: Celebrating Africa’s Lingua Franca

Kiswahili Language Day: In a bid to recognize and celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of the world, the United Nations (UN) has established dedicated days for each of its official languages.

One language that has gained significant recognition is Kiswahili, a Bantu language spoken widely in East Africa.

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Details Overview about Kiswahili Language Day

Kiswahili has been acknowledged for its role in promoting cultural diversity, fostering dialogue between civilizations, and facilitating international understanding. As a result, the UN proclaimed the 7th of July as World Kiswahili Language Day, making it the first African language to be honored in such a manner.

The roots of Kiswahili’s recognition at the global level can be traced back to the 1950s when the United Nations Radio established the Kiswahili language unit.

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Over time, Kiswahili became the sole African language within the Directorate of Global Communications at the United Nations. This acknowledgment speaks volumes about the language’s significance and influence, not just in Africa but also on the international stage.

The recognition of Kiswahili as World Kiswahili Language Day by the UN General Assembly, through resolution 71/328 in September 2017, signifies the commitment to multilingualism and the understanding of the importance of languages in shaping history, culture, and communication.

The resolution emphasizes the need to raise awareness of the history and use of each language, encouraging the Secretary-General and organizations like UNESCO to extend this initiative to other non-official languages spoken worldwide.

Building upon the UN’s efforts, the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO adopted resolution 41 C/61, which specifically highlighted the vital role Kiswahili plays in promoting cultural diversity and facilitating dialogue among civilizations.

The resolution also emphasized the value of multilingualism as a core principle of the United Nations, promoting unity in diversity and international understanding, tolerance, and dialogue. In light of these considerations, the resolution designated the 7th of July as World Kiswahili Language Day.

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The recognition of Kiswahili as a global language comes as a significant achievement for the African continent. It not only showcases the richness and diversity of African languages but also serves as an inspiration for the preservation and promotion of other indigenous languages around the world.

By acknowledging Kiswahili, the UN sends a powerful message that languages should be celebrated, respected, and used as a means to bridge cultural gaps and foster a sense of global unity.

In conclusion, the establishment of World Kiswahili Language Day by the United Nations represents a milestone in recognizing the importance of linguistic diversity and cultural heritage.

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Kiswahili, with its deep-rooted history and wide usage, has been rightfully acknowledged for its contributions in promoting cultural understanding and international dialogue. As the first African language to receive such recognition,

Kiswahili sets an example for other non-official languages to be celebrated and appreciated worldwide. Let us embrace this day as an opportunity to celebrate Africa’s lingua franca and its role in shaping our global society.


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