Kiswahili as a language for all Africa The West Africa Challenge

Main Article Content

P. I. Iribemawangi
Nicholus Makanji
Ronke Okhuosi


The endorsement of Kiswahili as an official working language in AU meetings, conferences and communications gives Kiswahili a big boost. This comes in the midst of another milestone in which World Kiswahili day was set aside as July 7 by UNESCO. The AU did not only endorse Kiswahili as a language of official communication, it also added a resolution that by 2063, all African countries (member states) must have implemented full learning of Kiswahili language in an effort to have the language as the official language of Africa. The question then is, are all African countries ready for Kiswahili? Are there challenges that can be foreseen impeding the implementation of this policy? The paper investigates the challenges that may arise in making Kiswahili the language for Africa with specific reference to West Africa. The choice of West Africa is a purposive sampling methodological approach. The paper is guided by the socio-psychological theory which is one of the theories used in the study of second language learning. The outcome of this research will be essential in formulating the way forward in the implementation of the policy and designing strategies to make Kiswahili a working language for Africa with fewer challenges.

Article Details

How to Cite
Mwangi, I., Nandi, N., & Okhuosi, R. E. (2024). Kiswahili as a language for all Africa: The West Africa Challenge. NAWA Journal of Language and Communication, 17(1), 97–108.
Author Biographies

P. I. Iribemawangi, University of Nairobi

P. I. Iribemwangi is an Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Kiswahili at the University of Nairobi. He holds a PhD in Kiswahili and linguistics. Prof. Iribemwangi specializes in Kiswahili phonology, morphology and sociolinguistics. He has written over 70 books, book chapters and journal articles in these and other areas of language and linguistics. Prof. Iribemwangi, a Carnegie fellow, has interest in the study of Kenyan Bantu languages.

Nicholus Makanji, Zitech University

Nicholus Makanji is currently a PhD student at the University of Nairobi. He holds an adjunct faculty position at KAG East University and University of Nairobi. He serves as a Tutorial Fellow at Zetech University as a linguistics, translation and sociolinguistics lecturer teaching Kiswahili. He is also a Kiswahili Editor.

Ronke Okhuosi, University of Ibadan

Ronke Eunice Okhuosi is a lecturer in the department of English, University of Ibadan where she acquired her Doctorate. Although her specialization is in Phonetics and Phonology, she explores and teaches some other fields like Writing, Semiotics and Sociolinguistics. She is also interested in using Linguistics to solve societal problems.


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