Beginning in 2020 Kiswahili will be offered as an optional language in South African schools. This according to the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga who now says that the decision has been approved by the country’s council of Education Ministers.
According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Kiswahili is the most spoken language in Africa after English and Arabic and learning it she says is part of efforts to “bring Africans together”.
French, German and Mandarin are among foreign languages already offered in South African schools as optional subjects and Kiswahili will be the first African language, from outside South Africa, to be offered at schools.
“It is also one of the official languages of the African Union. We are confident that the teaching of Kiswahili is South African schools will help to promote social cohesion with our fellow Africans,” Ms. Motshekga added.
Last month, South Africa’s radical opposition leader Julius Malema singled out Swahili as a potential common language that could be used throughout the continent, as one way of ‘decolonizing Africa’.
In May this year, social networking giant, Twitter officially recognized Kiswahili as a language, making it the first African language to achieve the feat.
Kiswahili is a Bantu language with lexical and linguistic similarities with many African languages spoken in the continent.