[lg policy] New book calls for State to give more priority to growing Kiswahili

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 11:35:58 EDT 2018


 New book calls for State to give more priority to growing Kiswahili

Saturday July 21 2018

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[image: The book 'Lugha na Fasihi Katika Karne ya 21'.]

The book 'Lugha na Fasihi Katika Karne ya 21'.
In Summary

   - Against all odds, Kiswahili has continued to rival established
   languages such as English and French.
   - It is touted to edge out other notable languages in Africa that
   equally have many speakers.

*Book title: *Lugha na Fasihi Katika Karne ya 21

*Editors:*Mosol Kandagor, Nathan Ogechi & Clarissa Vierke

*Publisher: *Moi University Press (2017)

*Reviewer:*Enock Matundura

Kiswahili is no doubt the East and Central African region’s foremost
language of wider communication. It is estimated that it has about 120
million speakers across the globe - majority of who come from East Africa
and the Great Lakes region.

Against all odds, Kiswahili has continued to rival established languages
such as English and French - and is touted to edge out other notable
languages in Africa that equally have many speakers such as Hausa, Igbo,
Bambara and Wolof in West Africa, Arabic in North Africa, among others, to
become the lingua franca of the continent.
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Kiswahili language and its literature, therefore, has over time attracted
the attention of scholars from within and without the continent. The book
under review is an attempt by scholars of the language from local and
international universities to share their thoughts on the strides that have
been made by Kiswahili in the 21st century.

The 418-page book is divided into five major sections and 41 chapters. The
sections are: Lugha, Isimu na Maendeleo ya Kiswahili (Language, linguistics
and development of Kiswahili), Fasihi na Masuala Ibuka (literature and
emerging issues), Tafsiri, Ukalimani na Mawasiliano (Translation,
Interpretation and Communication, Matumizi ya Lugha, Vyombo vya Habari na
Diskosi (Language use, the Media and Discourse) and Sera ya Lugha na
Ufundishaji wa Kiswahili (Language Policy and the Teaching of Kiswahili).

The contributors of chapters in this book, published in honour of Prof
Naomi Luchera Shitemi formerly of Moi University, who died on September 28,
2013, include Profs Odeo Isaac Ipara (Kibabii University), Inyani Simala
(The Est African Kiswahili Commission), Sangai Mohochi (Rongo), Wendo Nabea
(Egerton), Noordin Mwanakombo (Moi), John Habwe, Rayya Timammy (Nairobi),
and Miriam Mwita (Baraton). Others are Prof Mwenda Mukuthuria (Maasai
Mara), Drs Obuchi Moseti (Moi), Omari Ontieri (Maasai Mara), Pendo
Malangwa, Amani Lusekelo (Dar es Salaam), and Chacha Mwita Leonard
(Kenyatta), among others.

The preface of this book is written by Prof Mohammed Hassan Abdulaziz of
the University of Nairobi – regarded as the doyen of Kiswahili scholarship
in East Africa. Prof Abdulaziz founded the departments of Kiswahili and
Other African Languages in the 1970s at the universities of Dar es Salaam
and Nairobi. Most of the contributors in this book are therefore either his
former students or products of his students.

Prof Abdulaziz says this of Prof Shitemi (a former student at the
University of Nairobi in the 1980s): “It is coincidental that many articles
in this book, to a great extent, focus on the areas (of study) in which
Prof Shitemi was a great enthusiast. Therefore, the publication of this
book adds to the contribution towards those areas proving that there is a
lot of research being done in Kiswahili linguistics and its literature.”

The most recurring motif in most of the chapters, however, is the
lamentation by the writers that although Kiswahili is an official language
of Kenya together with English – as captured in Article 7 of the Kenyan
Constitution, the efforts of operationalising this has rather been slow.
Despite much work done towards developing the Languages of Kenya Policy and
Bill, not much progress has been achieved.

The Languages of Kenya Policy and Bill were initially drafted at the
ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts. Later, they were transferred to the
ministry of Communication and Technology. The legislative process has
stalled since 2013. Unless Kenya sets up a National Kiswahili Council, the
country may not achieve much in matters Kiswahili development.



*Enock Matundura, translator of Barbara Kimenye’s Moses series (Oxford
University Press), teaches Swahili literature at Chuka University*


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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