This first celebration of the World Kiswahili language day is being held under the theme ‘Kiswahili for peace and prosperity’. The mission of the annual celebration is to promote the use of Kiswahili language as a beacon for unity, peace, and enhanced multiculturalism.
- Hello: jambo/ hujambo/ salama
- How are you?: habari gani
- Fine (response): nzuri
- Goodbye: kwa heri/ kwa herini (more than one person)
- See you later: tutaonana
- Nice to meet you: nafurahi kukuona
- Goodnight: lala salama
- Yes: ndiyo
- No: hapana
- Thank you: asante
- Thank you very much: asante sana
- Please: tafadhali
- OK: sawa
- Excuse me: samahani
- You're welcome: starehe
- Can you help me?: tafadhali, naomba msaada
- What is your name?: jina lako nani?
- My name is: jina langu ni
- Where are you from?: unatoka wapi?
- I'm from: natokea
- Do you speak Swahili?: unasema Kiswahili?
We consider this as Tanzania’s gift to the world,” said Professor Kennedy Gastorn, Tanzanian’s Permanent Representative to the UN headquarters in New York, in an interview with UN News – Kiswahili.
Why 7 July?
According to Professor Gastorn, the day was chosen because on 7 July 1954, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU)—the ruling party of then Tanganyika—led by Julius Nyerere, declared Swahili as an important tool in the fight for independence.
In the 1950s the United Nations established the Kiswahili language unit of United Nations Radio, and today Kiswahili is the only African language within the Directorate of the Global Communications at the United Nations. The United Nations General Assembly, through its resolution 71/328 of 11 September 2017, on multilingualism, welcomed implementation of a day dedicated to each of its official languages in order to inform and raise awareness of their history, culture and use, and encouraged the Secretary-General and institutions such as UNESCO to consider extending this important initiative to other non-official languages spoken throughout the world.
In that regard, the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO adopted resolution 41 C/61 that recognized the role the Kiswahili language plays in promoting cultural diversity, creating awareness and fostering dialogue among civilizations and noted the need to promote multilingualism as a core value of the United Nations and an essential factor in harmonious communication between peoples, which promotes unity in diversity and international understanding, tolerance and dialogue. The resolution proclaimed 7 July of each year as World Kiswahili Language Day. Kiswahili is the first African language to be recognized in such a manner by the UN.
Kiswahili is a language that speaks to both past and present. With over 200 million speakers, it is one of the most widely used African languages, encompassing more than a dozen main dialects. Over the centuries, this Bantu language has emerged as a common form of communication in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to the Middle East.
With UNESCO (sources)